Profile The "Groundswell" of Collaboration in Professional Learning Communities

In the book Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies, authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff explain what they call the “groundswell” and how it in transforming our world.

According to the authors, the groundswell is..
“A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations.”

I think, that the same ideas described in the “groundswell” apply to Professional Learning Communities.

The idea of the groundswell might apply to Professional Learning Communities if, replace technology such as Web 2.0 applications (blogs, wikis,, Facebook, Ning, Twitter, YouTube,, Diigo, Wikipedia, etc) with…Collaboration.

Technology enables relationships. Professional Learning Communities enable relationships too. Professional Learning Communities rely on relationships to effectively collaborate together to increase student achievement.

The authors of Groundswell describe what they call The Social Technographics Profile. This profile describes how people participate in the groundswell using technology. According to the ladder there are six levels of participants.


I have previously posted here (Technology Leadership Is Literacy Leadership) on how I believe the Social Technographic Profile is has a relationship to literacy.

Now I see a Professional Learning Community relationship.

Groundswell has two main components: technology and people.

Professional Learning Community has two main components: thoughts and people.

Based off of the Groundswell Social Technographic Profile ladder, I offer what I call the "Professional Collaborative Profile" of Professional Learning Community members.


All Professional Learning Communities have creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators. Sadly some have inactives as well. They question is how can you harness the individuals on each rung of the ladder to create the most collaboration among members?

In the book Groundswell, the authors describe a simple test to tell if a technology enables new relationships.
1. Does it enable people to connect with each other in a new way?
2. Is it effortless to sign up for?
3. Does it shift power from institutions to people?
4. Does the community generate enough content to sustain itself?
5. Is it an open platform that invites partnerships?

Might these same questions apply in some sense to our Professional Learning Communities? Might these same questions relate to the rung your PLCs occupy on the Professional Collaborative Profile?

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Tags: 2.0, Community, Learning, PLC, Professional, Web, collaboration, creativity, ed-tech, education, More…groundswell, ideas, teachers, teaching, technographic, technology, thinking


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