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by Randy Hall & Dianne Cunningham
(Click HERE for more information)
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PLEs consist of applications, web tools, platforms and resources of the adult’s choice that help him/her to organize information, co-learn, communicate, collaborate, and create.  Numerous tools are available, one of which is Twitter.  Consider visiting the Twitter Education Calendar and attending a Twitter Chat.


Education Calendar

To help manage chat protocols, you may want to use a tools such as "Participate."




While social networks are excellent mechanisms for educators to share information and instructional strategies, ask and answer questions, collaboratively address problems of practice, and create unique approaches or “next” practices, they do require constant attention to privacy concerns and professionalism.  Tips for safely using these sites include:

  • Know what privacy settings are available on each platform and how to use them

  • Schedule regular reviews of your privacy settings

  • Monitor activity logs

  • Join "private" or "by invitation" groups

  • Be aware of your District’s computer use policies.  These policies usually include restrictions on interacting online with students, posting pictures of and/or text about students, and posting information or images that compromise one’s professional reputation.  

  • Avoid geo-tagging your school location as this action makes it easier for students to find teacher posts

  • Never post any type of job-related grievance online.  


The following documents provide additional information:

11 Tips for Protecting Your Privacy on Facebook

10 Social Media Rules for Teachers


Co-learning or "peeragogy" is a collaborative method for constructing knowledge, engaging in research and creating products.  The method has existed for many years, but access to the internet has created an explosion of opportunities for engaging in productive and meaningful co-learning experiences.  Author, Howard Rheingold has developed a handbook to guide co-learners.[i]  He provides the following tips for strengthening the co-learning process:

  • Provide structured activities to organize the learning, including: clarifying the goals, defining challenges, researching past practices, and identifying what needs to be learned

  • Co-create the curriculum to encourage both individual intellectual pursuits and collaborative reflection

  • Co-facilitate online discussions and sharing tools (e.g. virtual meetings, blogs, wikis, bookmarks, etc.)

  • Introduce “after action reviews” or other mechanisms that allow the group to review progress to date and revise processes and goals

  • Accept that participation may follow the “90/9/1 principle (lurkers/editors/authors),” and that membership and roles may need to be fluid

  • Create forums that allow the co-learners to engage in asynchronous discussions

  • Define roles for co-learners when they engage in synchronous conversations (e.g. searchers, summarizers, curators, etc.)

  • Provide online tools to facilitate the sharing, evaluation and revision of content


Co-learning environments may be found in venues such as virtual presentations, online conferences and MOOCs.  By participating in these types of co-learning activities, educators expand their knowledge of “best” and “next” practices, share their expertise with the field in order to improve educational outcomes for students, identify areas of shared concern and opportunities for growth, and create new instructional approaches based upon shared research and development.

Samples of Virtual Seminars


Simple K12

Webinars for English Teachers Facebook group

Science Webinars

The ELT Calendar

Twitter Webinars


Sample MOOCs:




Stanford Online

Harvard Online

i.  Somerville, MA.: PubDomEd/Pierce Press. Retrieved from


Chris Sessums provides a compelling case for educators to blog.  By gathering articles, instructional tools, research data, resources, and sharing them with others, we help to ensure that all students benefit from our collective efforts.  When we move a step further, and synthesize this information in order to generate new ideas, curriculum, and instructional approaches, we ensure that our profession remains vibrant.  For information about Sessums’ “Four Cs Model,” please click on the diagram below. 

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