The Best Online Communities for Teachers

By Rob Klindt

Online teacher communities offer one of the best ways for new and veteran educators to keep up with industry trends.

These communities encourage teachers to collaborate and share resources with colleagues, discuss teaching strategies and connect with experts in the education field. Joining a teacher community can also help teachers find resources to chart a professional-development plan.

Just as there are many kinds of teachers who focus on different areas of education, there are many types of communities that reflect a broad spectrum of the industry. To help teachers find an online community that’s a good fit for them, it’s helpful to break them down into categories. Here is an overview of some of the more popular teacher communities.

Learning Networks

  • Edmondo. This “closed” social-learning network is designed specifically for K-12 teachers and students. It includes a robust collection of instructional tech tools.
    Visit the site
  • Educator’s Personal Learning Network offers teachers resources for charting personal development plans.

    The Educator’s Personal Learning Network. Dig through this teachers’ toolbox and find videos, forums, blogs, personal-development tips and more resources to help K-12 educators. Free; registration is required to participate in forums and groups.
    Visit the site

  • Saywire: This online platform of scalable learning communities is designed for K-12 teachers who want to create customized learning environments for students using the latest tech tools. The focus is on collaborating with others in developing content. Free; registration is required.
    Visit the site

Special Interests

      • Pinterest. Educators are flocking to this wildly popular service that lets users “pin” documents, videos, photos and special-interest links with colleagues on a virtual “pin board.” A dedicated “We Are Teachers” board includes professional development tips, downloadable lesson plans and more. Free.
        Visit the site
      • Tioki. New teachers and others looking to expand their networking contacts can connect with professionals who share their interests in education in this community. Teachers can leverage their network connections for news, video, technology and other resources. Free; registration is required.
        Visit the site

Technology

      • Classroom 2.0. This site boasts more than 75,000 members worldwide and is focused on K-12 educators who want to develop social media and participative technologies in the classroom. Features include technology special interest education groups, blogs, discussion forums and tech tips. Free; registration is required.
        Visit the site
      • TeacherSquare. Teachers and members of the educational tech community mingle in this virtual hub that’s devoted to empowering educators to make technology work in the classroom. Features include an online Q&A forum with tech experts, teacher blogs, videos and links to in-person tech talks. Free; registration is required.
        Visit the site

Social Media

      • Twitter. The short online updates of up to 140 characters that Twitter users send to followers over the Internet can be very helpful to teachers by keeping them in the professional loop on breaking educational news, trends, and professional development. It also can be used to connect with colleagues, students and parents. Free.
        Visit the site
      • Facebook. With more than 1.1 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the social media champ among users from all walks of life, including teachers. Among educational pages to follow are Facebook in Education, The National Education Association, Edutopia, Education Week and Free Technology for Teachers. Free.
        Visit the site
      • ProTeacher Community. For teachers who like to chat online, this is the place to go. Groups span all grades, subjects and educational special interests. The site also includes a large collection of beginning-teacher and professional-development articles, downloadable lesson plans and more. Free, registration is required to participate in chat groups.
        Visit the site

 

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