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From blogging and Twitter to online networks, Fearghal Kelly charts the evolution of professional development and interactions for teachers in the social media age
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Although the above quote, which heads the short article by Fearghal Kelly, captures the content of what she writes, it misses the most important point. To quote her again: "... while our online networks can provide us with the opportunity to interact with a broader group professionals, we will only realise its full potential if we can convert our networks into communities".
It is the dynamic between communities and the larger network that they are part of that make online, networked learning and professional development so different from the past and so rewarding. The article describes it well, from the shortcomings of the offline communities in the past, via the broadening of the horizons that blogging and Twitter afforded, back to the personal interactions in the online communities of the present. Although the network and the community level are related, in my opinion still a lot of work could be done to wedge them together more intimately and more productively. How do network members know about useful communities other than through word of mouth? How do communities become associated with particular networks other than by accident? It would seem there is a lot of room for recommender systems that mine these communities and networks to come up with suggestions for new and useful alliances and groupings. (@pbsloep)
This looks at how online communities help professional development. I think it is true those with PLCs could likely benefit from an improved mixture of the PLN connections blended more effectively withPLCconnections there are also many teachers that really have very small local PLCs. Many are the only one that teaches a subject in a school and local outside inspiration in the past was hard to come by. This is where online Professional Development Networks have an amazing ability to reach and inspire those in isolated content areas.