Creating and Fostering Learning Opportunities: Professional Learning Networks for Teachers

Informal professional learning opportunities – those that can take place in a variety of digital forums like twitter, facebook, and google+ – are very interesting to me. Over the past few months I have become more active in conversations on twitter (chats) and in google+ (communities). I have learned a great deal from interactions in all of these communities and have been able to get feedback on several questions that I have posted especially, in twitter. In both of these spaces I have found that the more time/content I put into the community, the more content/connections/relationships I gain in return.

As I begin to dive into education literature, it is important for me to remember that there are so many communities specializing in the topics I am interested in. More importantly, in order to become a practitioner one has to interact with the experts in the community. Even if that means lurking for a while.

A colleague – Chris – came up with this diagram which he calls The Collaborative Learning Cycle. While Chris developed this model for the adoption of new technology tools like iPads and applications, I think that it can also be used to illustrate the process of becoming a member of a community. The steps below show that it’s okay to jump in and be a learner for a while – what I called lurker earlier. Then transitioning to user when you become more proficient, to then an innovator and finally a contributor. As always, I’m curios to know what you think.

The Collaborative Learning Cycle

by Chris Cozort

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