Learning NetworksWelcome to the Insight Thematic Dossier on Teachers’ Social networks!
This dossier addresses the crucial topic of teachers’ professional development and how social networks can support it. So called Learning networks have been discussed more frequently since the rise of social media and social web.
Learning networks are technology supported communities through which learners share knowledge with each other and jointly develop new knowledge (Sloep & Berlanga, 2011). This way, learning networks enrich and compliment the experience of continuous professional development (CPD) and lifelong learning. Examples of a learning network for professional development are various teachers’ communities who exchange their experiences and seek collaboration (e.g. Cloudworks (http://cloudworks.ac.uk/), Tapped-In (http://tappedin.org), or eTwinning (www.etwinning.net).
Policies and research acknowledge teachers' role in developing innovation in education and training practices. There is particularly a need to harness the transformative potential of ICT for innovative and effective teaching and learning approaches with the potential to equip both teachers and learners with new skills for jobs and lifelong learning.
This dossier is comprised of six articles that are produced within a Lifelong Learning Project called Teachers’ Lifelong Learning Network. The project uses the eTwinning action as a case study to better understand the value of social networks for CPD.
- The first article “Online communities for teachers-Importance of social network for professional development” serves as an introduction to the topic and also introduces a small study focusing on the “sense of connectedness” within the eTwinning network.
- The second article, “A closer look at the future of teachers’ profession in 2025”, acknowledges that development of teachers’ profession is one of the significant aspects that cannot be ignored when discussing the future of education.
- The following article introduces new tools to see and study learning networks; namely through using information visualisation techniques and social network analysis: "Social Network Analysis and network visualisations: a case of eTwinning"
- The fourth article focuses on “Personas” as a tool to better understand the users of the network and their characteristics: "eTwinning Personas"
- The fifth article is part of the eTwinning publication series and focuses on the synergies between eTwinning and national schemes for continuous professional development in three countries showing how teachers’ involvement in eTwinning can be complimentary to other CPD schemes: "Synergies between eTwinning and national schemes for Professional Development"
- The last one gives a full introduction to the Tellnet project outlining its partners, main goals and linking to the public report which was part of the mid-term review: "How can social learning network support teachers’ professional development? TeLLNet – Teachers’ Lifelong Learning Network"
Sloep, P. B., & Berlanga, A. J. (2011). Learning Networks, Networked Learning. Comunicar, XIX(37), 55-63.