Online Social Networking Breaking the Culture of Professional Isolation: The World’s Largest English Department

-Teacher Magazine; October 1, 2009

This spring, 10 days after completing her bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from the University of Tampa, Laura Abercrombie was hired to teach 8th grade language arts. Anxious about what might be awaiting her in the fall, Abercrombie did what any self-respecting digital native would do: She took her troubles to the Web. She searched “language arts” and stumbled upon The English Companion Ning, whose tag line read, “where English teachers meet to help each other.”

Having created a Ning network in ed school, Abercrombie was familiar with the social networking platform and excited by the materials and ideas on the site. “I saw all these amazing YA literature resources, which I needed to know for my job,” says Abercrombie, referring to books for the young adult market. But staring at pages of groups, forums, curricula, and multimedia resources, she also started to panic. Without the benefit of any guidance, it was like being dropped in a foreign country without a map. “I didn’t know who to talk to or who could help me,” she explains.

To read the full article, click here.

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