Thursday, December 14, 2006

Educational Communities

There are many educational communities online. Some are with big name companies, some are private with no connection to a large company. When I was a technology coach I belonged to a Yahoo! Group called "I Must Be Crazy: I Teach Middle School". We had a great discussion board where we could share information or ask questions to one another. Members were not really moderated and so every once in awhile we got something inappropriate, but for the most part we had a great discussion board going.

I just left my position as a field manager for the Discovery Educator Network and decided to see what other communities were out there. I'm still a member and believer of the DEN, but I was just curious as to what the competetion will be like once the changes take place.

The first one I found was at Scholastic's Website for Teachers. The site includes discussion boards, chats on topics for students, teachers, and parents, and blogs. I enjoyed reading a few of the discussions on how to get the classroom management started off right, especially about the GATOR books. The blogs were also available for students and parents. I think what's unique about this community is that it comes from a company that has always been known for their support of creativity and reading for both home and school needs. Kathy Walsh and her team from Scholastic do an awesome job at presenting at the various conferences as well, so stop by FETC or your next national conference to put a face with the company.

The next one I found was through the ACTIV Boards. They have their own "User Group Conferences" nationwide and membership includes access to lesson plans, software tutorials, their own teacher feature, and more. Theirs is called the Promethean Planet, and it can be found international. This one looks very similar to the DEN, including their User Group Conference, but very product specific.

There are a few more that are very specific to the state, such as eMints and the new TIE program that Georgia Public Broadcasting is starting. Of course I couldn't list them all here.

With each post though, I tend to find a question that I want asked or answered. Here's this post's question: What makes a teacher community valuable to the teacher, how can you make your community special enough to participate in, and who should be involved (teachers, parents, local, state, or national)? I know my answer. As a field manager I would have to say that our community in North Florida (actually all of Florida) was special because of the members. We learned from each other, encouraged and inspired the next step, and because we got to know each other in person at various events, we could continue the relationship with trust and openiness online. Just my personal thoughts, without getting to elaborate. What's yours?

1 comment:

Mithrass said...

I've never seen a trademark or anything....but can re name the DEN to Danielle's Educator Network? Here in Florida alone I'm sure we can make it happen. Or how about AOTE! Abernethy's Outstanding Tech Educators.

Ok...wishful thinking. Great information Danielle...keep em coming!