Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MAC Week #4 Media Project

In a 2008 report for the U.S. Department of Education, 75% of the teachers surveyed indicated that they have never used technology to participate in professional online communities (Bakia, Yang, & Mitchell, 2008). This is problematic for teachers. Aside from not being able to relate to students growing up familiar with online social networks, it is a setback in the 21st century professional development of public school teachers. The problem may be due to a lack of familiarity with online communities and the tools that accompany them (Carr, & Chambers, 2006). Scarcity and relevance of online communities for teachers may also have excluded them from participating in online professional communities. If so, a relevant online professional community with technical tutorial support for teachers and school district support will attract more participation.

-Thesis Statement

Here’s the link to my media project. The media project went hand in glove with my thesis.

Thanks to providence I came across the following experience as I was working on my thesis paper and media project.

On January 18, 2010, a mass email invitation to join edWeb was received by the email accounts of my school district. Free for teachers and schools, edWeb is a social networking website for the education community. It has all the features expected in an online social network.

Of the mass email invitations that passed to the email accounts of my district, there were only four respondents. A March 20, 2010 search of the edWeb membership by district and by schools revealed that of the district a high school special education teacher (that’s me), a high school social studies teacher, a junior high school technology teacher, and a principal opted to join the edWeb online community. Also, the respondents had not made any attempt to connect with each other in that community.

It brings up a whole new discussion on what is a relevant online professional community. I stand by the axiom that an online community that is not relevant to the needs of teachers will not attract participation from them as professionals. Even online communities willing to address the concerns of teachers will not be attractive without the kind of relevancy that will impact their classroom and their school. An online professional community may cast a global net, but it must have a local impact to be relevant.

Bakia, M., Yang, E., & Mitchell, K. (2008). National educational technology trends study local-level data summary. Retrieved February 27, 2010 from

Carr, N., & Chambers, D. (2006). Teacher professional learning in an online community: The experiences of the national quality schooling framework pilot project. Technology, Pedagogy & Education 15 (2). 143-157.

edWeb. (2009, November 4). A survey of k-12 educators on social networking and content-sharing tools. Retrieved March 20, 2010 from

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