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ISTE Opens Social Media Site

Across panel discussions, lectures and demonstrations at the ISTE 2010 conference here in Denver, teachers and administrators have repeated the need for more online professional collaboration. Now, the conference hosts are announcing a service they hope serves that need.

The International Society for Technology in Education announced Tuesday the creation of ISTE Learning, a website the society hopes will serve as an online meeting place for teachers and administrators wishing to improve their digital knowledge and capabilities.

"ISTE Learning is a new online community and professional development marketplace where educators can sample free concepts, buy cool resources and exchange creative ideas," said Helen Padgett, president of ISTE, in a press release.

The site is organized as a virtual campus, with four main online locations to visit: The Commons, ISTE U, the ISTE Cafe, and the Learning Lab. Only The Commons—which offers access to "bite-sized" podcasts, webinars, literature abstracts and other opportunities—is open so far. The lab and the cafe are to go live in October, and the university in January.

Social networking for professional development has been a hot topic here in Denver, and is even a key point of emphasis for teachers in the federal government's National Education Technology Plan. There are other social networking sites for teachers, like Teachers Recess, for example, and EdWeek has its own forums, chats and webinars to help the exchange of ideas.

ISTE's site plans to focus on four areas of instruction a year; this year's topics are Web 2.0, project-based learning, digital citizenship, and gaming and simulations.

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