Whose Voice?

I was just updating my portfolio with comments on global learning communities and had to wonder, when it came to learning communities, did everyone have an equal voice?  It’s not my premise that some people are being left out, or that their voices are going unheard, instead I am wondering, given the multitude of online networks that one can belong to, how many teachers are actively participating, and how many are merely members who never have the time to share their ideas?  Are global learning communities really as expansive as they seem?  And if they aren’t does it really matter?  This led me to thinking about a learning community I created for my own colleagues. Although many have joined, few are actually contributing.  As a matter of fact, most of the contributions right now are from me.  Is that bad?  I don’t necessarily think so.  I think the whole idea of having a space to share is new and it’s not something we’re used to, so we forget to make the time to put our ideas out there.

The same is true with global learning communities. Time, family, schoolwork, all these priorities get in our way and we don’t have the opportunity to be as actively involved as we had envisioned when we joined.  Thank goodness we don’t have to participate to join.  The nice thing about an online learning community is that it’s there when you need it, but no one is pressuring you to make the Thursday meeting, or join a special committee to research the impact of blogging on student literacy.  Maybe that’s their appeal, we can join, but don’t have to commit.  Given all the things that take up our time, this is the perfect relationship.  I must confess, I do feel a little guilty that I don’t have more to share with the members of my PLN, or with the learning communities that I have joined, but this hasn’t prevented me from using them to my advantage.  So maybe my voice isn’t being heard, but their voices are changing the way I think.

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