Tellnet: Teachers' Lifelong Learning Network

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How can social learning networks support teachers' digital competences?

Tellnet aims to study the eTwinning network through visualisation techniques, Social Network Analysis (SNA) and a number of complementary methods.

eTwinning is deemed to be one of the most successful European Commission actions under the Lifelong Learning Programme. It is defined as the community for schools in Europe, promoting teacher and school collaboration through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Since 2005, thirty-two European countries have been participating in eTwinning and more than 130,000 teachers use the eTwinning platform.

By identifying the main structures, actors, hubs and communities of practice that are effective in sharing practices, encouraging innovation and creativity at schools, and engaging new members, the project aims to understand the motivations and drivers for people to be part of these networks. This will make it possible to provide better support and services and more needs-focused lifelong in-service professional development.

The project is divided into three working group:

•    Visualisation and Social Network Analysis
•    Teachers' professional development
•    Future scenarios and exercises

Basic information

Country: Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Spain

Coordinator: European Schoolnet, www.eun.org

Programme: Other

Project Acronym:

Target groups: education authorities, policy makers, researchers

Topic: Education, Other

Start year: 2009

End year: 2011

Url: http://www.tellnet.eun.org/

Contact person: Riina Vuorikari, European Schoolnet, riina.vuorikari (at) eun.org

The key idea behind Tellnet's research work is that teachers' collaboration networks, mixing on-line and off-line worlds, provide a suitable support for teachers' personal competence development as well as for professional development.

It is suggested that such networks can have a key role in supporting in-service teachers in their changing role, encouraging their professional development and sharing good practice; and it is important to understand the dynamics and multidirectional flow of social influence within such networks.

The relevant policy and research challenges lie in better understanding the following points:

1)    How teachers who participate in peer-networks perceive their lifelong learning opportunities;
2)    Whether teacher networks support and enhance the spread of good practices and innovation;
3)    Whether teacher networks could be an incubator of innovative practice in teaching.

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