Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Virtual learning communities: How do they transform learning for educators and teaching in the classroom?
by Pagliaro, Genene C., Ph.D., Capella University, 2010, 181; 3439522
Abstract (Summary)

A yearlong professional development opportunity in the form of a virtual learning community project was offered to New Jersey educators when a public New Jersey university joined forces with an independent educational consulting firm to support the reform efforts of New Jersey's Department of Education mission to create 21st century learning environments. The project supported the reform efforts of New Jersey's Department of Education's mission to create 21st century learning environments. The need to develop 21st century learning environments has placed pressure on educators to transform teaching strategies and pedagogy to meet the demands of the technological native; a learner who has not known a world without technological applications views technology as an active medium to socialize, to connect, to collaborate, to interact with, and to learn about the world. Professional development for educators must be transformed to support 21st century skills and environment in which we live and learn. Web 2.0 communications support participatory involvement that consists of collaboration, network building, sharing and both social and intellectual interactions. Virtual learning communities, a form of Web 2.0 communications, have begun to emerge as effective venues for valuable, job embedded, sustained, collaborative, globally connected professional development. The venue of a blended virtual learning community offers opportunities for educators to both asynchronously and synchronously collaborate about technology integration and the infusion of technology into the classroom. This empirical concurrent mixed methods study examined the impact that a blended virtual learning community had on levels of technology integration in a classroom and how teaching strategies and pedagogy were transformed by participation in the learning community. This form of professional development embraced the elements of effective professional development as supported by the National Council of Staff Development's (2001) effective characteristics of e-learning and professional development. Effective professional development for educators is ongoing, connected to practices, focused on student learning, addresses the teaching of specific curriculum content, aligns with school goals, and builds strong working relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Flood, Donna
Commitee: Brown, William, Horgen, Jerry
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational technology, Curriculum development
Keywords: 21st century skills and learning, Education, LoTi, Professional development, Technology, Technology integration, Virtual learning communities
Publication Number: 3439522
ISBN: 978-1-124-44707-0
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