Level Three:
The Power of Building Learning Communities
Through Internet Collaboration, Mentoring and Teaching

CONTEXT: Communities can be defined as those to which we give our time and talent. Communities are the sum of what we give to each other. There are givers and takers in all communities. Givers are those who give their precious time to build community and supportive relationships as a direct result of their actions. In sharp contrast, takers are those who contribute little or nothing, but often complain about the loss of the sense of community.

"Communities of interest" can use the Internet to work closely together regardless of where the members live. The Internet brings new, convenient ways to contribute to others through mentoring, sharing, and teaching, all from the social safety of one’s own home. There is no upward limit to how much help you can provide to others.

By posting resources to save others the time finding them, and posting self-directed learning opportunities to guide others to new skills and resources, potentially great numbers of people can benefit, all thanks to you.

There are over ten different collaborative tools on the Internet, with more being invented all the time. We are all challenged with learning how to make the best use of these collaborative tools to building learning communities.

Project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional model that relates directly to the use of collaborative tools for real-world problem-solving. A key trend in K-12 education is collaborative learning with a real-world problem-solving emphasis related to issues facing the local community.

Success in the information age will depend on a individual's character, values, and ability to work with others both face-to-face, and when necessary, using collaborative Internet tools.

The work model of the future is individuals working as "Lone Eagles" along with others on multiple short-term projects requiring highly developed group-work skills. Knowledge of which collaborative tools are best used for specific purposes is vitally important and can best be learned through direct hands-on experience. We all need to learn how to plan, implement, and evaluate projects that involve others and that depend upon the manipulation of digital information. We need to learn how best to solve real world problems using the best tools at our fingertips.

Quickstart Awareness Activities

ACTIVITY:  Read the following essay on building individual and community
                     collaborative capacity at http://lone-eagles.com/capacity.htm.

ACTIVITY:  Explore the tutorials for the ten top collaborative
                     Internet tools,
                     Read the article on educational uses of the ten collaborative tools;
                     http://lone-eagles.com/articles/tencollab.htm, noting that the first
                     two, email and listservs, are the primary ones most people use.

ACTIVITY:  Get connected with your peers; Join a Listserv;
                     explore the discussion groups at: http://www.liszt.com
                     Note: There are quality, easy-to-read, instructions at this site
                     for those new to listservs, (also called mailing lists.)                      

ACTIVITYCheck out the following project-based learning tutorials 
                      which include guides for project-based learning activities and
                       planning and implementing web projects! Review the
                       Project-based Learning Resources

ACTIVITY: Explore the K-12 project directories and programs at
                      http://lone-eagles.com/projects_tour.htm to appreciate the quality
                      and diversity of "ready-to-go" collaborative activities!

ACTIVITY:  Go to the Global Schoolhouse - http://www.gsh.org
                      Select Professional Development, then select and read
                     "Harnessing the Power of the Web."

ACTIVITY: Explore the following cultural resources and innovations,
                      and the online course resources,
in consideration of what you
                      might teach online!  http://lone-eagles.com/multicultural.htm