Because online communities enable people to communicate at any time
Sharing with local school teachers might be unsafe. They are concerned that they might be seen as incapability if they ask questions or share problems to local teachers. Communicating with a large audience helps them with diverse perspective from different teachers. This will enrich them to view situations from different points of view.
Teachers who are working in isolated environment find it hard to meet people who share common interests. For example, lack of teachers with the same background due to school with limited teachers in remote areas. Isolation can also be due to the unavailability to find people who understand specific issues in the schools. When facing the problems, teachers always seek for solutions, such as in teaching a concept, from other teachers. If there are no people who understand the issues, the teacher will be isolated. Teachers seems to have limited time to talk about their interests because they are very busy with their own business. they have tight activities in or out of school that make them hard to find a time to talk and discuss.
Online communities enable teachers to share their ideas about teaching practices or teaching materials. Feedbacks from their colleagues can expand their thinking and knowledge about how to deliver an instruction. For example in one interview data, one teacher asks for suggestions how to teach poetry for second graders. Some teachers from the online community then share various ideas about specific book information or instructional strategies. This leads to expanding knowledge of teacher’s practices to teach poetry. In short, online communities facilitate a place to develop teachers’ creative ways to teach subjects, as the ideas from communities “were proven to work in actual classrooms” (p. 296).
Hur and Brush (2009) suggest that the five reasons in the research findings are interrelated. Anonymous participation particularly allowed some teachers to have more open discussion; teachers were able to express emotions that they could not share with other people and ask for help without fear. Anonymous participation is a personal choice, and we observed that many members did not share personal information and used pseudonyms.
Teacher emotional sharing: lack of understanding of how teachers’ emotions affect teaching and teachers’ professional work. Methods: Feeling incapable or incompetent. teacher feared being view as incapable if they shared problems or sought advice from others. Teachers do not expect their knowledge or expertise to be questioned despite their dissatisfaction.
Despite the fact that the research cannot generalized due to the nature of a case study, which might not be typical for all online communities of teachers, the authors believe that that the findings in their research have provided “critical insight into various reasons why teachers participate in self-generated online communities and suggest crucial areas that future professional development programs should emphasize”
Teachers’ Motivation to Participate inSelf-generated Online Communities of Teachers Ari Arifin D, 2091563
• This presentation draws on the research article entitled “Teacher Participation in Online Communities: Why Do Teachers Want to Participate in Self-generated Online Communities of K-12 Teachers”, by Jung Won Hur and Thomas A. Brush, 2009.
The Outline of the Presentation• Introduction to the research article – The underlying theoretical frameworks and the research question• The key findings of the article• Discussion• A model of participation and the implication• Conclusion
Introduction• The widespread access to the Internet requires educators to explore methods that support professional development of teachers, such as the development of online communities of teachers.• Online community is defined as “ a group of people who come together for a particular purpose or to satisfy particular needs; they are guided by formal and/or informal policies and supported by computing technology” (p.279)
Introduction (cont’d)• Hur and Brush (2009) suggest that “interest in creating online communities of teachers increased dramatically because of their potential to promote ongoing teacher interaction… Interaction among teachers are keys to successful teacher professional development” (p.279).
Introduction (cont’d)• However, Hur and Brush (2009) argue that “there is a lack of research concerning self-organized online communities of teachers…fewer people actively involved in self-generated online communities” (p.280).
Introduction (cont’d)• Investigating teachers’ motivation to participate in online communities “can provide new insight into creating teacher professional development programs that better meet teachers’ need” (p. 280).• The study was to understand the reasons for teachers’ participation in online communities.
Theoretical FrameworksCommunities of Practice• Communities of practice “are groups of practitioners who share knowledge, concerns, and values within supportive culture… entail mutual engagement of members… seek to develop members’ capacities and knowledge… sustain the communities” (p.280).
Theoretical Frameworks (cont’d)Social Learning Theory• Focus: Cognition as situated, as social, and as distributed.• Learning occurs while individuals are actively engaged in communities.• “Social learning theory indicates that teachers gain knowledge while participating in communities of practice” (p. 281).
Theoretical Frameworks (cont’d)Emotional Sharing• Hur and Brush (2009) argue that “people often share emotion with others, especially during extremely negative or positive emotional events” (p. 282).
Theoretical Frameworks (cont’d)• Hur and Brush (2009) argue that “reasons for teacher participation in online communities vary depending on components, such as individual goals, personal experiences and characteristics, relationships with others, and school culture” (p. 283).
Research QuestionWhy do teachers want to participate in self-generated online communities of teachers?• A case study was conducted. Data were collected through interview and analysis on postings in three online communities – Teacher Focus community, WeTheTeachers community, and the Teaching community in LiveJournal.
The Results of the Study• There are five reasons why teachers participate in online communities, including “(a) sharing emotions, (b) utilizing the advantages of online environments, (c) combating teacher isolation, (d) exploring ideas, and (e) experiencing a sense of camaraderie” (pp. 290-291)
(a) Sharing emotions• It is interesting to note that “teachers were interested in reading and responding topics related to emotions” (p.291)• Hur and Brush (2009) suggest that there are two types of responses to postings about negative emotions: “offering emotional support and providing possible solutions” (p.291)
(b) Utilizing the advantage of online environments• Teachers can “share issues that they might not be able to share in their local school” (p. 294)• It is also possible that online environments “provided them with opportunities to communicate with a large audience” (p. 294)
(c) Combating teacher isolation• Isolation can be due to isolated school environment, unavailability of people who understand the situations, and lack of time to talk or discuss.• Online communities play a role as “ a way to reach out to other teachers who may understand issues related to teaching” (p. 295)
(d) Exploring ideas• Online communities enable teachers to search for “very specific ideas that were appropriate for their teaching situations and their unique needs” (p. 295).• Teachers can acquire new ideas because postings “broaden new perspectives and even create more ideas” (p. 296)
(e) Experiencing a sense of camaraderie• “A sense of camaraderie was developed during participation, these friendships encouraged them to participate more in the communities” (p. 297).
A Model of Teacher Participation in Online Communities of Teachers• Hur and Brush (2009) emphasize the importance of ongoing interactions with group of people to acquire knowledge, as proposed by social learning theorists. – “The most crucial aspect of an online community is not the information shared in the communities, but rather the sense of that the participation engenders” (p. 299).
A Model of Teacher Participation in Online Communities of Teachers (p. 298)
Implications• Hur and Brush (2009) propose that educators need to develop teacher professional development programs by further investigating on two areas: (1) teacher emotional sharing, and (2) methods to strengthen teachers’ self-esteem and support teachers’ confidence
Conclusion• The article emphasizes on emotional aspects of online communities.• The article shed a light on the importance of online communities not only as knowledge-sharing places but also as emotional-sharing places.
Conclusion (cont’d)• Hur and Brush (2009) suggest that the findings in their research have provided “critical insight into various reasons why teachers participate in self-generated online communities and suggest crucial areas that future professional development programs should emphasize” (p. 300)
Small group discussion1. In your view, what is the importance of participating the online communities? Are there any negative sides of taking part in the communities?2. Based on your experience, what are the other reasons that motivate teachers to join online communities of teachers?
ReferenceHur, J.W., & Brush, T.A. (2009). Teacher Participation in Online Communities: Why Do Teachers Want to Participate in Self- generated Online Communities of K-12 Teachers? Journal of Research in Technology in Education, 41(3), 279-303.