The personal learning network for educators
When I look at the use of educational technology, one of the issues that comes to mind is how a learning community can be strengthened in the use of technology to collaborate so as to positively affect professional development and then the outcome of learners. This issue is important because a well structured professional learning community is crucial to the success of all participants involved as this will determine whether it can effect a change in the beliefs and practices of the professionals, because the experience and expertise are utilized in such a way that every member has opportunity for reflections and development, while respecting the opinions and contributions of the learner (Gerdes & Jefferson, 2015).
In the paper, teacher professional development, technology, and communities of practice: are we putting the cart before the horse? (Schlager & Fusco, 2003), argued that focusing mainly on online technology for the delivery of training and networks, places the cart before the horse, as, they supposed, the internet should first be used to support and strengthen local learning communities where the teacher functions. When the reverse is the case, it tends to pull away the professionals from their practice. It is when the professionals are actively engaged collaborating among themselves, talking about their practice that they become competent practitioners. In the development of digital tools in education, technologists should find a way to link technologies used by different arms of the learning community, so that the tools used for online course management system for example can also fit into use in professional development in order to foster a mutual engagement of all stakeholders in the practice of educating children (Schlager & Fusco, 2003).
The paper identified that there has to be an understanding of the working relationships that occur in a learning community so as to determine what kind of technology to develop that will foster such a relationship and support professional growth and educational development (Schlager & Fusco, 2003), therefore it is important to identify the tools that can be used cohesively by a learning community to achieve the afore-mentioned purpose.
Gerdes, J., & Jefferson, T. (2015). How a Professional Learning Community Changed a Family Child Care Provider's Beliefs and Practices. YC: Young Children, 70(5), 8-13.
Schlager, M. S. & Fusco, J. (2004). Teacher professional development, technology, and communities of practice: Are we putting the cart before the horse? In S. Barab, R. Kling, and J. Gray (Eds.), Designing Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from: