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Microsoft's Network for Educators

Microsoft Corp.recently launched a new social-networking Web site for educators called the Partners in Learning network. It appears that the new community is the latest reincarnation of Microsoft's Innovative Teachers Network. So far, 1.6 million educators from 59 different countries are participating in the online community, according to the company.

This new resource allows educators to connect to others with similar professional interests, subject-matter expertise, or location, and provides access to resources and learning tools for the classroom. It also allows teachers to find and share lesson plans with each other.

This development dovetails nicely with the survey we wrote about last week which found that when educators were asked which social networks they would be most likely to join in the next year, they strongly preferred communities that were education-related. However, only a small percentage of those educators were actually familiar with education-focused social-networking sites and an even smaller percentage participated in them.

That finding is a bit surprising considering the high numbers of participants in Microsoft's community, as well as others like the Discovery Educator Network and Elluminate's LearnCentral, which claim hundreds of thousands of participants.

What do you think? Are education-focused social-networking communities a good resource for educators? Have you joined one, and if so, is it worthwhile?

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