EduCon Session: Communities of Practice

Going 1:1 school-wide means full-faculty accountability for adopting new technology and pedagogy. In successful 1:1 schools,  colleagues look to each other to model, adopt and support what works. Sustained peer-to-peer support for technology change can form a pattern of knowledge sharing and social organization termed a Community of Practice (Wenger/Lave 1991).

Communities of Practice (CoPs) resemble Professional Learning Communities in origin.  However, while the productized PD offering called "PLCs at Work" is a formal external structure, CoPs are informal, voluntary, and emergent. The Gates Foundation's research on PLCs shows administrators favor most what teachers like least: forcing horses to drink together. 

CoPs are a better cultural fit for schools than PLCs, and as Wenger/McDermott describe, may be cultivated though not imposed., a school change solution for schools pursuing 1:1 adoptions, seeds CoPs to support knowledge and best practice transfer after formal courses end.  We have built patterns and resources into our solution which we offer for EduCon’s review and, if timely, free use. 

Bram Moreinis will share Going121’s model and GAfE resources for cultivating knowledge and practice sharing, and invite tweaks, offered for adoption in whole or part by schools in need of CoP cultivation. Resources include: four linked Site templates (CoP, Tech Tips, Integration Tips, Projects Showcase) and a teacher ePortfolio+Blog Site template. plus a peer review guide based on Coursera, supported by Canvas LMS.