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Eden Autism Services Participates in Roundtable Discussion: Creating Online Communities of Practice for Educators

Eden Autism Services recently participated in a roundtable discussion on opportunities and challenges in creating online communities of practice for educators.

Princeton, NJ, September 09, 2011 --( Eden Autism Services, a national center of excellence for autism information, education, training and support services for individuals with autism, families, educators and healthcare professionals, recently participated in a roundtable discussion co-hosted by and Footsteps2Brilliance™. The event took place in Washington, DC and drew leaders from many segments of the education industry to discuss the opportunities and challenges in creating online communities of practice for educators.

Dr. Tom McCool, President & CEO of Eden Autism Services, was among a panel of education leaders, representing different voices in education. Each spoke about their missions and experiences in creating online communities.

Specifically, Dr. McCool discussed Eden’s establishment of two Autism Communities (one for elementary school teachers and one for secondary school teachers) on edWeb’s network. Since March of 2011, the number of members on these two sites has grown to more than 2,400. He provided concrete examples of communications among edWeb members in response to requests such as: “What IPOD Apps should I use?” “I’m setting up a pre-vocational classroom and looking for suggestions as to how the room should be set up,” “My student has trouble going to sleep at night and his family is asking for suggestions.” These communications provided quick, focused responses to real life educational situations, and helped teachers address particular issues.

More and more educators and stakeholders involved in education are discovering the power of online communities to help educators to be more connected, more collaborative, more supported, and more professional in their practice. The National Education Technology Plan 2010 recommends using social networks to “provide educators with career-long personal learning tools and resources that make professional learning timely and relevant as well as an ongoing activity that continually improves practice and evolves their skills over time.”

The event helped to elevate the value that online communities of practice for helping teachers improve their individual practice, to move the profession to a more collective teaching model, to provide support for educators who are new to profession or face challenging teaching assignments, to help associations be better advocates for their members, and to help companies be better listeners about the products and services that are needed.

Lisa Schmucki, the founder and CEO of, commented, “This was a great opportunity to bring together a diverse group of educators and organizations who are passionate about creating online communities for educators. If we share and collaborate with each other, we will help move forward faster with using social networking technology to support educators and improve teaching and learning.”

Ilene Rosenthal, the founder and CEO of Footsteps2Brilliance™, hosted the event in Washington, DC. She added, “There is no turning back from the digital revolution. Online communities of practice will be the way to scale best educational practices, connect school and home and accelerate learning for all students across the United States.”

The Roundtable was sponsored by Follett Software Company and MCH Strategic Data. A report on the event will be released soon. You can request a copy at

Eden Autism Services provides early intervention, education, employment training and residential services for children and adults with autism. Eden offers both in-person and online support and training programs for families and professionals. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, Eden is a national center of excellence, which was founded in 1975. Eden's services extend throughout the United States with operations in Southwest Florida. For more information about Eden visit or call (609) 987-0099. Follow Eden on Facebook and Twitter.

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Eden Autism Services
Aileen Kornblatt

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