I might not be alone in wincing when I hear the term ‘laggard’ or ‘legend’ applied to another person’s use of technology. It’s another dyad used to separate those to be endorsed, and those to be outcast.  Although these terms are part of national identity and romanticised or exaggerated, it connects with reality in that it colours other people’s ideas of how they ought to behave. It is presumptuous to assume that someone who uses limited media types to interchange with colleagues is a laggard. They might for example use all sorts of rich media to maintain friend-ties, yet choose to use little more than email at work. For other people, the opposite might be true — they invest many hours in using social media spaces to maintain virtual-ties, yet struggle to connect with colleagues around them.

Before heading the demand to “join Twitter and get a PLN”, consider that the virtual-communities are NOT ecotopian, and filled with biases. A more useful heuristic inside school communities is to gian understanding patterns of media use in staff who actually teach the children in the school. By seeking to understand how people actually communicate,  a cluster of cognitive and affective orientations emerge. These are the only ones which foster or inhibit an individual’s tendency to communicate with technology in that context. New mediums create ties that are technically possible but not yet activated socially.

This means that some staff separate work from home, and wish to keep it that way. It doesn’t mean that because they have active media orientations at home that they see a use for them at work and visa versa.

For parents, worried about about Facebook and Gaming, consider that games are now the most popular way for children to explore (virtual and real) friendship relational maintenance. They stick with behaviours that continue and develop those relationships. . . . [including] a variety of routine and strategic actions, and abandon others. For example, finding a server to play on is just a technical skill. Finding a server which allows them to develop their interest, skill and relationship is something PLENTY of “legend” educators farming social media appear to fail at – which is probably why they Tweet, and can’t game.

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