Monday, June 21, 2010

20 Places for Teachers to Build Their Network Online

The summer break is a great time for teachers to network with colleagues, administrators, and other education professionals. If you'd like to begin building your network but aren't sure how to go about it, the following sites will give you somewhere to start.

Partners in Learning Network - Partners in Learning Network is a global community of more than one million teachers from nearly 60 different countries. Members can create or join online communities and participate in discussions. Other features include lesson plan sharing, free tools and learning programs, and education articles.

TeachersRecess - This social network and file sharing community allows teachers to chat online, share lesson plans, and publish their own personal blog. Members can also use the site to buy and sell teaching supplies and classroom materials online.

Edutopia - The Edutopia community welcomes teachers as well as administrators, librarians, policymakers, parents, and other people interested in discussing and improving education. The community is split into groups with various interests. Members can join a current group or request that Edutopia create a new group for a topic that is not being covered.

TeachAde - This popular social networking website provides a place for classroom teachers to discuss important issues and share resources online. Members can collaborate in groups or share their thoughts through TeachAde blogs.

TeacherLingo - Teacher Lingo is an online education community that welcomes teachers of all levels. Site features include message boards, blogs, a teacher directory, and a lesson plan directory.

The Apple - The Apple is known as the place where "teachers meet and learn." Members can explore teaching careers, network with other professionals, and read articles written by education experts. The site also offers a place to search for and share lesson plans.

All Teacher Boards - Scholastic provides a message board for teachers (and another for students). The board offers a place for teachers to exchange ideas and a separate space especially for new teachers.

Thinkfinity - The Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity Community is a place for teachers and other education professionals to find new friends and network with colleagues. Members can participate in discussions and join groups of teachers with similar interests.

PBS Teachers - PBS Teachers welcomes preK-12 educators who want to search for classroom resources and discuss teaching strategies, professional development, and other topics online.

Applebatch - This network for K-12 educators provides a space for teachers, administrators, and other education professionals to meet and connect online. Applebatch also offers a job search engine and information about job fairs and other events.

We the Teachers - We the Teachers caters to educators who want to network and share lesson plans online. The site also offers a directory of education apps and mini-communities for teachers who want to connect with others who have similar interests.

The Teacher's Forum - This free forum from provides a place for teachers to chat, share resources, discuss recent education news, and advertise supplies for sale.

Educate Interactive - Educate Interactive's Teacher Exchange is a collaborative online module for teachers who want to share ideas and resources. Offerings include a community, forum, blogs, and an interactive lesson database.

T2T Network - This social/professional network welcomes K-university level teachers. Members can chat online, exchange resources, or look for new career opportunities.

TeachStreet - TeachStreet isn't designed to be a place for teachers to network with one another, but it is a good site for teachers who want to offer their services or introduce themselves to potential students. The site used to be free but now charges a small fee for teachers who want list classes, events, and workshops.

The Global Education Collaborative - The Global Education Collaborative is a Ning network for teachers and students who are interested in discussing global education. Members can chat with each other, collaborate on projects, and learn more about upcoming education events.

Classroom 2.0 - Classroom 2.0 is a popular education-related Ning for teachers and other education professionals who are interested in using social media and web 2.0 tools in classrooms. Members number in the tens of thousands and include teachers from all over the world.

The International School Teacher - This Ning was created specifically for international teachers who want to discuss and share their experiences teaching abroad. Features include forums, videos, photos, and more.

Meetup - Meetup isn't exclusively for educators or online networking, but it is a good place to organize a local group or learn about current groups that meet in your area.

Elgg - If all of the other sites on this list fail you, you could always start your own social network with Elgg. This open source program can be used to create a fully-featured social network with blogging and microblogging capabilities.

Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the Guide to Business School. She also writes about pharmacy technician certification for