A New Image: Online Communities to Facilitate Teacher Professional Development
Author(s)Lock, Jennifer V.
virtual educational communities
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AbstractRealizing the potential of online or virtual communities to facilitate teacher professional development requires educatorsto change their current perceptions of professional development. This calls for educators to develop new images of ongoing opportunities for professional development,based on their needs within an online community of learners and their recognition that communities may include individualsfrom local regions and from around the world who share mutual interests and goals. The realization of online learning communities to facilitate teacher professional development is a matter of carefully and deliberatively designing dynamic learning environments that foster a learning culture. This requires a pedagogical framework that nurtures the establishment of relationships, intimacy, and trust, where people engagein shared learning experiences mediated through technology. Designing an online learning environment that fosters the development of a learning community is not about adding technology on to current professional development practices. Rather, it is about designing, building, and supporting a structure and a process that are purposeful and fluid in nature and in meeting the personal ongoing professionaldevelopment needs of teachers.