A few years ago the only way a teacher could really stay connected was to be a part of a list-serv, attend conferences, read professional journals, maybe join a group online and that basically was about it. Then we were introduced to blogs, and teachers were no longer isolated until conference time, but able to reach out and really start communicating with others. Podasts, wikis, Twitter, and other tools have only enhanced this process.
Now we did have groups online- such as the one I was involved with "I Must Be Crazy- I Teach Middle School", and I did learn a lot from those folks. Great advice, great ideas. But there was little collaboration on projects and ideas.
Then Discovery opened things up with the Discovery Educator Network. I believe Apple had a teacher group first, but not sure. But the DEN (as we lovingly called it), really opened up collaboration, communicatin, and creativity for not just Apple users but all technology literate teachers. I loved the inspiration and power that came from the group of awesome teachers.
But if you are not a member of the DEN, don't have access to unitedstreaming or other Discovery products, what do you do? Well you join either Inspiration, Tech4Learning, Promethean, SMART, Yahoo, or Google's community and connect that way. You can even join any one of the NING groups, such as Karen Seddon's or Classroom 2.0. And now, there's another one that just popped up on my radar. STAR Online. Check it out and see what you think.
With so many choices out there, any and all teachers have a way to stay current on today's topics and trends. Then everyone would know what Digital Literacy and 21st Century Skills mean!