Natives Residents Immigrants Visitors – what about the Excluded?

The problem with the move from Prensky (digital immigrants/natives) to White (residents/visitors)  is the continuation of the notion of choice; that all users have access and are capable of making choices about how they exercise it. Trinder’s comment on White’s blog suggests ‘avoiders’ and ‘outsiders’ and the concept of outsiders is my starting point. Any debate on technology must begin with acknowledgement of the first criteria; those who can access and those for whom access is denied. Excluded might be a better word than Outsider as Ousider still implies an element of choice. Exclusion is complex; it involves hardware, software, cost, training and each and every one of us who uploads digital data in a format that poses a barrier. WAI’s don’t seem to be the answer, neither do accessibility strategies. So long as access remains a bolt-on reaction rather than a foundational issue we will never realise the democratic potential that virtual environments have to offer.

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