Archive for the ‘digital animals’ Tag

What digital animal are you (and everyone else)?

I made a quiz! And very good fun it was to make, too. The background: it’s intended as a not-very-serious icebreaker for the first part of a course I’m designing on digital literacies – more about that here.

The quiz is built in Qzzr, which is a free site that lets you create Buzzfeed-style diagnostic timewasters. The questions are from University of Exeter’s iTest, which is licensed for reuse as CC BY-NC-SA. I’d love to have replicated Exeter’s radar diagram outcome, so that you would see your result for each category mapped onto a kind of spiderweb – this gives the quizee a great diagnostic snapshot of their digital presence. However, Qzzr only allows you to make single-outcomes quizzes (although you can choose either a graded test or a personality-based outcome) and I was happy enough with Qzzr’s user-friendliness to want to stick with it.

I also used some of the categories from the iTest, but renamed them. In the original there are six categories: Digital Guru, Online Networker, Digital Dodger, Information Junkie, Media Mogul, and Career Builder. As we’ll be doing a lot of work on employability later in the course, I left out the Career Builder questions altogether for this icebreaker, and chose animals to represent the other categories (click to zoom).






On the idea of using animals, a tip of the hat to Matt Borg and Erica Stretton’s very readable 2009 article My students and other animals. At around the same time I was also using animal metaphors in my referencing class, and was delighted to find that Borg & Stretton had run with the same idea! (For the record, I used to illustrate the feel of different referencing software by saying that EndNote worked best for systematic researchers – the worker ants; Zotero was great for squirrels – grab that reference and stash it safely; and to use Mendeley you really needed to be a meerkat – a researcher who enjoys the social aspect of citation-swapping.)

I really like that although not all animals are of equal cuteness (my apologies, fellow spiders), they can nevertheless help you avoid value judgements. For instance, we could have suggested that not being a prolific user of the digital is a bad thing – a form of Luddism rather than an informed choice. (Mind you, if we’d chosen an ostrich with its head in the sand, that would have carried an implicit value judgement whatever the text said …) However, in a course that’s meant to be encouraging awareness and thoughtful choice around digital issues, that really wouldn’t fit. We don’t want to impose values on our students: we want to give them opportunities to think about what they do online and work out their values for themselves.

So on the advice of Twitter (how else?) I chose the owl because of its reputation for wisdom, which fits nicely with a thoughtful scepticism:


Huge thanks to everyone who’s already tried out the quiz and given me feedback – particularly Jo who tried it out numerous times under the guise of different personas! If you’d like to have a go, it’s here. Enjoy!