Chapter

Teacher Empowerment Toward Professional Development and Practices

pp 269-280

Date:

Professional Learning Communities in a Web 2.0 World: Rethinking the Conditions for Professional Development

  • Yvonne LiljekvistAffiliated withDepartment of Education, Uppsala University Email author 
  • , Jorryt van BommelAffiliated withDepartment of Mathematics and Computer Science, Karlstad University
  • , Christina Olin-SchellerAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Studies, Karlstad University

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Abstract

The new technologies, in particular social media in Web 2.0, enable rapid change in people’s behaviour, which needs to be considered in research on teacher empowerment and teacher professional development and growth. In this chapter we discuss how teachers in an informal, yet structured, way use social media to expand their professional learning communities beyond the local school context in Sweden. This is an example of how a new behaviour is emerging among teachers that changes the opportunities and the frames for professional development and growth. Through teachers’ engagement in social media, such as Facebook, extended professional learning communities arise and teachers’ professional development and growth become evident. Global levels influence local levels: teachers from different schools engage in structured discussions related to everyday practice, such as issues of learning goals in pre-school or topics related to a specific course in upper secondary school. The teachers’ arena for professional development and growth has changed, which means that the context of teacher empowerment is rapidly changing too. Consequently, the chapter includes theoretical reflections on professional learning communities in a Web 2.0 world and how this phenomenon may affect our approach to enhancing teachers’ professional development.