It is no secret that what affects learning the most is excellent teaching. Student achievement is directly linked to quality teachers and quality teaching. With precious little time during the school day to take part in action research, meet as a professional learning community, or observe each other’s lessons and provide formative feedback, teachers have turned to asynchronous professional learning networks to collaborate, reflect, coach and move themselves ahead as professionals. The benefits are tremendous: One can expand one’s network globally, gain instantaneous feedback, and be selective about the topic/time/place place in collaboration with others. Learning moves from being information that is static to user-generated and user-curated, and from synchronous to asynchronous. Peer learning networks allow for resource sharing, global sourcing, and choice and opportunity. The norms here are community, collaboration and contribution; experimentation and action research are encouraged. These learning communities can pull everyone to common purpose and build trusting, strong relationships that move teachers ahead professionally and keep their learning current.
Social media is one of the best tools that can be used to connect teacher learners to themselves, each other, and the world around them. Blogging, tweeting, Facebook, Diigo and project based learning, Ning, webinars, and social bookmarking such as Delicious, all allow multiple entry points for teachers.