Lock, J.V. (2006). A New Image: Online Communities to Facilitate Teacher Professional
Development. Journal of Technology & Teacher Education, 14(4), 663-678.
In this article, Lock discusses the need for transformation in the way teacher professional development is handled. She describes traditional forms of professional development as a way for education stakeholders to prescribe a formula that teachers follow to gain success with their students. Failure is then attributed to the teacher’s inability to implement the formula presented in that professional development session. The author discusses the need for teachers to pose questions themselves to drive their own learning in subjects that are important to them. According to this article, online professional learning communities can help accomplish this, but there are barriers. These barriers can include teacher willingness, teacher technological readiness, school culture or the amount of time that is remaining in the day for teachers to participate, and quality of the learning communities.
This is the type of article that can begin a conversation about online professional learning communities. While it was written in 2006, it still has relevance as this discussion is still being had today. Many educators are still resistant to this type of learning community for some of the reasons listed, but others have jumped into this world with both feet. This is a thought paper that looks at the traditional forms of professional development and explains why they do not work and discusses the use of these types of learning environments as a way to create the open collaborative environment that teachers need to be successful.
As an educator who works with teacher professional development, this article gives specific reasons why some educators may resist this type of professional development opportunity. It also discusses the reasons for utilizing these online professional learning communities. This is a place where I can find materials to support the use of these communities with teachers and administrators who may be hesitant to implement them in their professional development plans.