Online Communities: Watering Holes on the Web

Contributed By

Robert Schuetz

Technology Coordinator for Palatine High School, IL

Online Communities: Watering Holes on the Web

Posted in Community | May 23, 2017

Where do you go to interact with others on the web? Facebook, Linkedin, Schoology? It's important for us to be a part of communities—whether in person, online, or both—to share and pursue common interests over time.

Recently, I wrote about how to use online discussions as “third places,” locations of informal interaction and community building that are critical for our students' personal growth. Bradley Kemp and William Illingworth added to that conversation when they discussed modern third places and how to cultivate them in this video. The fact is, people are awakening to an increased understanding of the cultural importance of these physical and virtual spaces.

The Proof is in the Pudding: Help Me Learn About Online Communities

Last summer, at Schoology NEXT 2016, I facilitated a session about creating a personal learning environment using an LMS as the focal point of engagement. We used research by White and LeCornu to gain personal insight into our engagement on the web—when we log into Twitter, Pinterest, or Schoology, what is our intent? Do we engage as visitors or residents?

This summer, I feel fortunate to be a contributing presenter at ISTE's Teacher Education Network Playground. My area of focus is online communities and how they impact our learning.

Please help me accurately represent the powerful Schoology online community by responding with a comment to one or all of the following discussion prompts:

  1. Do you think online communities are vital to modern teaching and learning, why?
  2. How have online communities impacted your professional learning and teaching practices?
  3. What tips, tools, or web places can you share with those who want to engage in online communities?

There is no doubt to the growing importance online communities will have on our personal and professional growth. In our busy, fast-paced, world online communities are readily accessible places for engagement and collaboration.

You may have noticed we are leveraging an online community to learn more about online communities (How meta of us!). As I’ve mentioned previously, once we begin seeing web-based resources as more “place-like” and less “tool-like”, the meandering gardens of culture and community are enthusiastically planted and cultivated.

Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences and insights regarding online communities. I look forward to spreading the word about our amazing groups.


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