Cultivating professional communities of teachers and practitioners through social network sites

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Maria Ranieri
Stefania Manca
Antonio Fini


This paper provides an original contribution to the field by exploring pathways of social network uses within professional communities, with special attention to groups of teachers. Through a purposely designed survey, the study analyses the motivations and aims of a range of social network group managers, and attempts to highlight mechanisms of members’ affiliation and participation. As an exploratory study, it is a first step towards comprehension of these mechanisms and their implications for learning and professional development. The study reveals that, typically, group managers are advanced Internet users, that groups are founded not only for professional reasons but also for the Internet’s ethical and participatory value, and that groups pave the way towards processes of contamination between the real and virtual which generate new professional initiatives. A more in-depth study is currently underway that also involves social network group members.

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