As a teacher in the Rochester City School District, I have often been in “small schools” where I was the only science teacher, so it has been important for me to network outside of my school. I have rarely had much of a department, and when I did it was with other science teachers who were teaching DIFFERENT science courses. However, in my current position I need to change my networking a bit.
I am fairly active in several groups, but I think the most helpful (most active) are a Facebook group for AP Environmental Science, and the science teacher listserves run by Oneonta. These are great resources for a science teacher, and were fantastic when I switched from Earth Science to AP, to middle school, to Biology. This year, when my AP students were reviewing I was able to share and receive review resources and information about what topics to emphasize with others in the group. I was also able to share some tech knowledge about Google drive, etc.
However, now that I am teaching in an online program, I have not found a similar group for that. What I am doing is science, but it is very non-traditional, and the focus is really not on the science, but on the virtual component. It is not quite a blended class because I do not see my students daily, but instead weekly.
I also had a subscription to NSTA magazines (Science Scope and Science Teacher for middle school and high school). They are wonderful, but expensive, and again not terribly relevant to my current position. NSTA also has discussion groups that are available free, even without a subscription, but they aren’t very active.
When I noticed this gap, I tried to broaden my resources to include some additional resources on virtual learning or online education. I searched for Facebook groups related to online education, but really didn’t find very much.
I searched for blogs, and found some blogs that were related to at least educational tech/blended learning, although not strictly virtual/online courses. I know that I won’t follow them or go back and check on them regularly. I was trying to figure out a way around that. I ended up adding a chrome extension (start.me) that creates a customized start page. On that page I could add those websites and get updates. Hopefully that will encourage me to stay up to date.
I tried to do the same for a few twitter hashtags related to online learning. I don’t use twitter regularly, and am trying to put it in one place so that I am more likely to see it.
If you know of discussion groups, facebook groups or other forums for virtual learning/online education I would be interested.