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ERIC Number: EJ1102750
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Building Professional Learning Communities in Special Education through Social Networking: Directions for Future Research
Hardman, Elizabeth L.
Journal on School Educational Technology, v7 n2 p30-38 Sep-Nov 2011
This paper examines the challenges inherent in building professional learning communities (PLCs) in special education and describes how two Web 2.0 tools were used to build a community that engages general and special education teachers, school administrators, and teacher educators in implementing research based inclusive practices that are known to have a positive impact on student learning. A wiki and ning were selected to provide the network's infrastructure because these applications have the capacity to support collaboration and networking when community members are separated by geographical location and time. The first year of the project was focused on developing web pages for community consumption and building membership. The membership grew from 50 at the end of the first year to 150 during the second year but data collected on member use showed that the membership contributed very little to community development and relied almost entirely on the network administrator to direct and manage all facets of community work. The success of any PLC is ultimately dependent upon members' level of engagement in community work. Thus, continued research should explore the processes that support community development and teacher engagement in community work, and most importantly, the degree to which participation in community work impacts student achievement.
Descriptors: Social Networks, Communities of Practice, Special Education, Web 2.0 Technologies, Geographic Location, Group Membership, Academic Achievement, Special Education Teachers, Administrators, Teacher Educators
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A