Online Communities…


August 14, 2009 by readlisaread

The idea of creating online communities, personal learning networks, communities of practice, etc, is one that’s been around since the first listserv.  I have been a member of several, and am now at the point in my own personal evolution that I don’t feel the need to “defend” the power of online connections to the uninitiated.  I recall having a very intense philosophical argument with another teacher once who insisted her UoP program created a much healthier online community because they had to meet in person before they ever posted a word in their discussion groups.  Of course, to me, that meant the community was dead before it started.

It’s amusing to me how resistant teachers, in particular, can be to the concept.  I remember being at a conference a few years ago where Stephen Downes was giving a keynote address with 2 colleagues. As well as tag-teaming the presentation, they had opened a chat channel and were projecting the page up on the big screen so that all of us propeller-heads with laptops and wifi were adding chats, having side conversations about the presentation, and those who couldn’t chat could read and/or participate live (like, by voice….I KNOW!) Funny thing is, that was one of the most memorable and enjoyable keynotes I’ve ever attended. I was shocked to discover some attendees hated the experience.

It was brought to mind this morning as I was reading Tweets on the Open Ed conference in Vancouver (that I couldn’t attend!) and thinking how much richer that conference experience must have been for the people there, as it was really engaging for me, and I was barely attending virtually– following the Twitter page and links and pictures actual attendees had posted. The conversations that were allowed to continue after the sessions–and even the conference–were over were all the richer for the “reality” of a virtual existence.

Never underestimate the power of a post…


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