Think Globalisation, Act VirtuallyWhat does the word community mean for your profession and will its meaning change in a decade?

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auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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While I agree that my colleagues on eNotes are part of a community with me, I cannot say it's the same kind of community as those I actually "live" in day to day. My home, my church, my school, my service organizations are all communities in the more traditional sense, and I have relationships in them which I do not have in this virtual community.

The danger in this world is that it is easy to think you "know" someone from what they write or how they approach the topics on this site, but I'm always surprised at what I don't know about them as time goes on. When I take the time or have reason to actually connect personally with some of my eNotes colleagues, though, I generally do feel as if I have made a friend. That's just not true for those whose names I merely see on this site every day.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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As others have said, many people do view participation in virtual organizations as being part of a community (i.e., having "friends" on Facebook and other sites). For me, the word "community" has always had a rather general connotation to it, even before the prevalence of virtual groups or globalization. Though the word once implied a close connection between humans, when it began to apply to professionals with common interests/goals or to virtual groups, the word's connotation shifted to a rather impersonal link between people. 

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Communities in the virtual sense have become more fluid, temporary and specific.  Wheras a community of learners, professionals, artists or a town itself are more permanent fixtures.  Some would say the virtual community is more dynamic, but I don't know that I agree.  More traditional communities tend to be better developed, in my opinion, and are likely to have a more significant long term impact on the individuals within it.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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To add a more cynical note, many words are used nowadays in order to give people the illusion of unity; however, their meanings have become corrupted.  For instance, some principals of schools refer to the high school "family," as people are treacherously working against one another, or they speech of the school's "culture," despite students' being from different races and cultures. Perhaps, the effort is well-meaning as an attempt to unify people; however, the reality greatly contradicts.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Well, this is a very interesting question, because as I reflect upon it I recognise that community has already changed for me as a teacher. For example, now, enotes is definitely part of my community, even though it is a virtual form and I live thousands of miles away from the other editors who answer questions here. I think as technology continues on its rapid pace this is something we will see more and more as other, newer, non-traditional forms of communities emerge.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I think that in any profession the term community means a group of people that share the same goals for an organization and work together to achieve those goals. As far as how this may change in the future I am not sure, currently I see a mix of people that really want to work together and a smaller group that really do not care about any one but themselves. Unfortunately I am afraid this may be the trend of the future.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I'm not sure I understand your question...

For most teachers, I would say that community means other teachers, particularly those in your own school.  That's because they are the people who share the same sorts of concerns and challenges that you face.

As far as change, the only way I see that changing is if merit pay becomes widespread and if it turns teachers against one another.  Teachers may start having to compete with one another in ways that they do not now have to do.  This might degrade the sense of community in the profession.

Is that what you're asking?

misstegic's profile pic

misstegic | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

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I think that in any profession the term community means a group of people that share the same goals for an organization and work together to achieve those goals. As far as how this may change in the future I am not sure, currently I see a mix of people that really want to work together and a smaller group that really do not care about any one but themselves. Unfortunately I am afraid this may be the trend of the future.

thanks for your reply Irwilliams, I certainly see the benefits and too believe it is here to stay , considering the consequences of a too "virtual society" is hard to predict especially for some professions as their are numerous examples were technology change seems to happen overnight and that industry or profession was caught off guard not adapting or evolving.

misstegic's profile pic

misstegic | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Well, this is a very interesting question, because as I reflect upon it I recognise that community has already changed for me as a teacher. For example, now, enotes is definitely part of my community, even though it is a virtual form and I live thousands of miles away from the other editors who answer questions here. I think as technology continues on its rapid pace this is something we will see more and more as other, newer, non-traditional forms of communities emerge.

Thanks Accessteacher, my thoughts entirely , this non-traditional form of communities on the surface seems entirely beneficial for further progress of human achievement. I guess my thoughts are wrestling with and considering what negative aspects their are to a "virtual " Community.

misstegic's profile pic

misstegic | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I'm not sure I understand your question...

For most teachers, I would say that community means other teachers, particularly those in your own school.  That's because they are the people who share the same sorts of concerns and challenges that you face.

As far as change, the only way I see that changing is if merit pay becomes widespread and if it turns teachers against one another.  Teachers may start having to compete with one another in ways that they do not now have to do.  This might degrade the sense of community in the profession.

Is that what you're asking?

Thanks for your reply pohnpei397 , the question directly relates to the view that the  nature of a community is changing or has changed in many professions and that globalization good or bad is one potential consequence of digital capitalism and the knowledge economy, however virtuality is another "reality" of the digital media society that will shape our community's in what ever form that takes.

With that in mind I felt E-notes as a "Community" would help improve my paper, with  crowd sourced timely and concise thoughts as I have received from the community.  In asking this question to the member base who are early adopters of this "Virtual" community structure, I guess I was looking for a postion they had formed in their mind as to how they see the traditional notion of a community evolving as more people engage in Virtual communities as seen in the explosion of Social Media ala Facebook and their perceived issues and consequences.

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