Many of the technology-based learning resources available today prompt learners to engage with advanced content and authentic activities, which are facilitated when educators orchestrate access to content, experts, and activities of many kinds through online learning communities.
Online learning communities break through educators’ traditional isolation, enabling them to collaborate with their peers and leverage world-class experts to improve student learning. Online learning communities also permit the coordination of teams of educators within a school, between a school and homes, and among schools, museums, community centers, and other settings that can support a student’s learning. Educators are no longer limited by where they teach or where they lead, nor are they required to deliver teaching as solo practitioners.
For example, through an online learning community, an educator can bring guest speakers located anywhere in the world into student learning. The class can watch the speaker and interact live while the speaker delivers a lecture, demonstrates a scientific experiment or a musical technique, or leads a guided virtual tour of a museum exhibit. A recording of the event can be archived for later viewing or uploaded to a website that hosts free educational content.
For an example of an online learning community built around deep content expertise, see the sidebar Connected Teaching in K-12 Mathematics.