Are Online Communities Rocking Your World? This blog post is a continuation of Part Two: Cultivating an Online Community

 

Collaborate with Peers and Form Relationships are the next two key practices that will be shared in this blog post.

 

Collaborate with Peers – Some educators have used social networking sites to collaborate with peers around the world, for example, our very own Dyane Smokorowski is using www.plurk.com as a PLN (professional learning network) on a daily basis. Dyane is connected with over 125 technology integration teachers across the globe. Part of her connection is truly social (support, friendships, what's for dinner) but one of the primary focuses is learning from one another's expertise. Dyane shared, “It's a wonderful connection tool that I can interact 24 hours a day if I wish (we even plurk late Saturday night to play "Name that Tune" with someone's iTunes list).”

 

Delicious is another networking tool she uses often. She is currently linking teachers within her district in order to share online resources. “Each of us might find five to ten sites, but we are merged through delicious to create a rich set of resources all in one place.”

A project she has worked on using the Ning platform is "It's a Small World Project." Here she has encouraged the teams from USA, Lebanon, Pakistan, Australia, and Malaysia to network and learn from each other. Writing prompts were given at first to respond on the ning, and then teams were encouraged to branch away from "chatting with local friends" to connecting globally with the other teams. “It was great, we did have some policing issues where some students wrote about non-school related things, but they were minor. As facilitators of this site we were able to delete what was not appropriate for the project.”

 

Form RelationshipsMyspace, FaceBook, Friendster….do these ring a bell? Don’t have a loved one or a friend? Try Match.com. Social networking sites with a new twist are popping up all over the web. Kids, adults, and grandparents alike are logging in and linking up to visit with friends and loved ones. During the year Intel® Teach Program hosts face-to-face trainings that foster connections and interactions with fellow educators. We hope those relationships and networks are fostered at a deeper more impacting level through the Teachers Engage Community, maintaining the momentum from the trainings.

 

In what ways are you collaborating with peers and other educators to develop relationships for sustainability?