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Building Your Own Professional Learning Community: What Websites to Use
posted by: Cindy Omlin | February 27, 2013, 09:49 PM   

One of the things that stood out among the data released in the recent MetLife survey, was that teachers who collaborate professionally with other teachers are more likely to seek out leadership roles and are more likely to be satisfied with their position.  This information points out yet another reason that having a high-quality professional learning community (PLC) is essential to teaching.


While more and more schools are picking up on this fact and are arranging for time during the school day for teachers to collaborate, many teachers still need to find ways to collaborate and learn on their own time.  Fortunately, as the news about the importance of PLCs spread, there are also more websites that teachers can turn to in order to find that collaboration.


Twitter – Twitter is probably the most often cited site for teacher collaboration.  When used correctly, it can be a powerful tool.  This spreadsheet offers a great starting point for teachers, with a comprehensive list of hashtags and some basic tips.

Google+ - With the use of communities and hangouts, Google+ is much more suited for collaboration and discovery than Facebook, and has the potential to be powerful.  A teacher looking to create a network of professionals should surely give them a look.

ProTeacher – This tool is an online forum where teachers can get advice and share tips and resources.  It has a number of helpful smaller communities (including one for new teachers, which is invaluable), unfortunately it is only focused on grades 8 and below.

A to Z Teacher Stuff – This website also has an active forum and unlike ProTeacher, it has a section set aside for secondary teachers.

Edutopia – seeks to help teachers become more effective.  It has a wonderful blogs that are filled with great ideas and resources, groups on various topics, and a community bulletin board.

Ning – As we’ve mentioned before, Ning is a great site that allows users to create or participate in highly individualized social networks.  A great Ning site to start with is the Educators PLN.

Wikis – are great tools for collaborating and sharing and building community.  There are many educational themed wikis, like Educational Origami, out there already or teachers can use sites like Wikispaces to start their own.


There are many ways to connect with and collaborate with other teachers, and no teacher should feel pressured to try and fit into a particular mold.  Each of these sites have their own strengths and weaknesses and will attract different personalities and teachers with different needs.  A teacher with a short amount of time might find themselves attracted to Twitter, while teachers who want to create something may find themselves leveraging Wikispaces more.  Many teachers will find that they are using a combination of sites in order to fill their needs.  The important thing is that useful and professional collaboration happens.


Originally posted by Melissa at AAE

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