Digital Learning Communities

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As I have become more familiar with professional learning networks, it is clear they are growing in popularity with educators. There are so many advantages of a learning community focusing on similar goals and values. Adobe Education Exchange is a learning community that helps promote creativity in the classroom and was a wonderful resource for my first year as a technology teacher. This community with over 273,000 members helps educators create a rich learning environment for students. Educators share lesson plans encouraging collaborative learning. I have reviewed several lessons available for Adobe Creative Suite. I am very passionate about Adobe products as I enjoy creating projects. As a contributing member of the Adobe Education Exchange, you receive visible recognition for your participation. Participants in the exchange program who contribute lessons get badges and points. I contributed a Flash tutorial I developed and published on You Tube. My lesson included short cut keys for the students. The instructions in my lesson were simplified and clearly communicated making it a better experience for students. I have three badges and forty-six points on the Adobe Education Exchange. Adobe Education is the online hub for creativity.
Gina Flanagan Adobe Education Exchange
Microsoft Access Forums is another professional learning network that helped me while coding my first professional database. Microsoft Access Forums has over 46,000 members in its community. I joined this learning network in October of 2014. I was working on a large project creating a form for every department in my school district. I would post a thread on the site requesting help, members would reply and I would receive an email with a response and a link to the thread on the forum. I received help on several requests, adding data from a form to a spreadsheet, manipulating buttons, runtime errors and almost anything a programmer could imagine. There were also times when I would find the solution to my own request or perhaps a different method to code and I would contribute that information.
AccessForums.net

Learning networks for programmers are so valuable. I appreciate having access to a group who can understand my coding questions. One of my favorite learning communities is Eileen’s Lounge. Eileen’s Lounge is a discussion board that has been developed since January 2010. This discussion board was created in memory of Eileen Wharmby who had created a similar board called Woody’s lounge in the 1990’s. I like that Eileen’s Lounge has a set of house rules as most forums, making it a pleasant experience. They also offer tips and tricks for using their utilities. I joined Eileen’s lounge in November 2014 as coding my database was becoming more complex. Eileen’s lounge had the information I needed to develop a dynamic report for my data, based on a date range. HansV is the administrator of Eileen’s and he assisted me with my inquiry, his location is Leiden, The Netherlands. It’s great that technology has made these communication and collaboration advancements available. These learning networks cut the time half I would have spent trying to solve coding issues on my own.
Eileens Lounge

Learning how to network effectively is one of the most prominent tools an individual can use to advance their professional life. This skill can help you meet your goals or even get a promotion. A professional learning network is about making connections and always having someone available to answer questions. Professional learning networks operate better when everyone contributes. Global participation allows increased collaboration with others, it leads to greater innovation and ideas, because each individual sees a different perspective. These new techniques for organizing digital networked information have empowered us to approach new kinds of networks that are far beyond our immediate location. In order to participate in learning networks successfully it is important to realize that people will be much more likely to communicate with you if they know who you are professionally. Remember to keep your comments professional, your commenting skills and how you engage in comments with others is important. Always respond back when someone comments on your thread.
Some learning networks are more personal than others. I belong to a few learning networks with my organization concerning topics with our current software or new updates to software and how to implement the updates. Professional business learning networks help groups pursue a shared learning agenda. They help in problem solving and developing the best practices. Entienne Wenger stated discovering common issues and aspirations energizes a group because you are not handling it alone. My experience with learning networks has been a positive asset in my professional career and I plan to effectively participate in the future.

Adobe Education Exchange. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://edex.adobe.com/
H. (2010, January 19). Eileen’s Lounge. Retrieved from http://www.eileenslounge.com/
M. (2005, January 1). Microsoft Access Forums. Retrieved from http://www.accessforums.net/
(November 20, 2014) Professional Learning Networks (also known as Communities of Practice) in Business, Academia and Social Life. Retrieved from: file://localhost/Users/flanagang/Downloads/CoP_in_Business_Academia_and_Social_Life_20_Nov_2014.pdf

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