Changing the Metaphor: The Potential of Online Communities in Teacher Professional Development

Changing the Metaphor: The Potential of Online Communities in Teacher Professional Development

Margaret Lloyd (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) and Jennifer Duncan-Howell (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-780-5.ch004
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Abstract

Belonging to an online community offers teachers the opportunity to exchange ideas, make connections with a wider peer group and form collaborative networks. The increasing popularity of teacher professional communities means that we need to understand how they work and determine the role they may play in teacher professional development. This chapter will map data from a doctoral study to a recentlydeveloped model of professional development to offer a new perspective of how online communities can add to a teacher’s personal and professional growth and, in so doing, add to the small number of studies in this field. This chapter will conclude with a call for a revision of the way we approach professional development in the 21st Century and suggest that old models and metaphors are hindering the adoption of more effective means of professional development for teachers.
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Background

This section is intended to provide background to the discrete areas under review in this chapter. These, as previously noted, are (a) online communities, and (b) the professional development model to be used to interpret selected data.

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