Hello, pleased to meet you, I’m a “Digital Immigrant“… A child of the 60’s, primary and secondary schooled in the 70’s and 80’s…tertiary educated in the early 80’s, with nought a computer in sight, just a blank exercise book, a text book,  a blackboard, a pencil case, and the school/university library to get you through.

“How did you do it?” I hear the ‘Digital Natives‘ of today cry out?

On looking back I’m not sure how we did it…no Google, Word, or ebooks, mostly it was a ‘solitary affair’, a student, a desk , and a book…working alone. At school we all did our own work, directed by the teacher out the front. All doing pretty much the same thing at the same time, set work, leading to set expectations…….and I have to say (modestly of course) that I was pretty good at that! It was really working for me…

Fast forward to 2016 and my reintroduction to study was initially less of an “AHA” moment and more of a “What The?…. moment !! My ,my, how things had changed.

Online study has lead to a whole new way of thinking about Learning ,and indeed how we Learn Online, and in general. Words such as Collaboration, Networking, Scaffolding, Constructivist, are scattered throughout the necessary readings. The more I read, the more it sinks in that Online Learning is definitely not a ‘solitary affair’.

Successful Online learning, whether it be in a K-6 classroom, or a University, involves a skilled e-moderator, and  the contributions and participation of “a group of members … bought together by joining in common activities and by what they have learned through their mutual engagement in these activities” (Wenger 1998).

By studying online , I have become part of the Communities of Practice .  as talked of by Lave & Wenger, and have learnt that the more we share with each other the more we learn. The journey of Learning is one best not taken alone…. Todays Education systems should be encouraging our students to discuss, share, collaborate, and reflect together.

As Mark Tennant said  all the way back  in 1997…

“Learning is in the relationships between people”

I’m still very much “Learning to Learn Online”, but as a “Digital Immigrant”, I’m starting to learn the language, and be a part of the culture, and it’s the collaboration with others  that’s supporting me in getting there.


Smith, M. K. (2003, 2009) ‘Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice’, the encyclopedia of informal education

Prensky,M.(2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon. Vol 19 No5. October. MCB University Press.