One topic of discussion in many of my classes is about the digital time we are in. One of my fellow classmates wrote an interesting observation on her blog Reflections of Jade about whether our class would be considered a digital community. I agree with her that even though we talk a lot about technology and being digital, we are not really a digital community. We still meet in a classroom once a week, we (sometimes) still print documents that we need to share, etc. However, I do think that I am communicating much more digitally now that my group has started our project on Collaborative Publishing. We have been using Google Docs to share info with each other. We also set up a wiki and use email. I find that I talk about digital medium more with my students, too, since starting this Emerging Technology class. However, I think we still have a ways to go to be a digital community because my high school students mainly use text messaging and their MySpace page for all of their communications.
I have been working on becoming a digital community in my high school classroom. We created blogs this semester that the students used to communicate their ideas to each other. We also use email, but this is not new for us.
An interesting definition of virtual learning communities by Patti Weeg can be found at http://www.globalclassroom.org/2004/digital_classroom/communication/virtual_community_pw.html
"Virtual learning communities sustain ongoing collaboration among participants who come together because of common interests or goals. These participants may be physically located anywhere in the world. As in any learning community, the online learning community provides services and a support system for those who belong to it. Collaboration over time is a major component of the online learning community. Motivation for all learners is high because there is an audience and a purpose for student project work." This site also has many other links to projects that schools can participate in.
Photo at http://www.intel.com/technology/magazine/pix/cm09053_g1.gif