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Networks for Teachers By Teachers (sampler)

The following sites of teacher-to-teacher networks have been posted:

The Bread Loaf Rural Teacher Network is a national organization of teachers sponsored by Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English and is dedicated to foster fundamental improvement in the quality and educational and career development opportunities for all school-age youth, and to increase access to these opportunities for young people in low-income rural communities.

The California Subject Matter Projects is a professional development network made up of nine discipline-specific projects.

Geography Alliance Network, sponsored by National Geographic, has built a national network of K-12 teachers, college geographers, and others dedicated to improving geography education. Operating as grassroots organizations, the network promotes geography education at local, state, and national levels.

The National Writing Project, another professional development network, serves teachers of writing at all grade levels, primary through university, and in all subjects. Its mission is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in the nation's schools.

Teachers Helping Teachers, unlike the other networks above, includes all school subjects, sometimes just with links to other repositories. Resources for lower elementary school students are provided.

Even physical education teachers can find links for their students at PE Central.

Many teachers have turned to Yahoo Groups to create on-line communities and networks on every subject from Astronomy to Zoology. Try searching for a group covering your subject or passion.

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According to reports, all these networks operate slightly differently--in numbers and scope. Joining them or starting your own will help reduce the sometimes frustrating isolation of being bound to one classroom all day without stimulating professional interaction and access to high quality resources as needs arise. The Internet offers inexpensive and on-demand remedies for this perennial barrier to good teaching.

Another benefit of these groups is that all traditional departments, including PE, for instance, can find online resources. Technology can then be integrated into the full school curriculum, although its weight may vary by subject. In other words, used in appropriate measures the Internet can spur systemic reform.

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