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Barbara Lindsey

Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0 (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE CONNECT - 1 views

  • But at the same time that the world has become flatter, it has also become “spikier”: the places that are globally competitive are those that have robust local ecosystems of resources supporting innovation and productiveness.2
  • various initiatives launched over the past few years have created a series of building blocks that could provide the means for transforming the ways in which we provide education and support learning. Much of this activity has been enabled and inspired by the growth and evolution of the Internet, which has created a global “platform” that has vastly expanded access to all sorts of resources, including formal and informal educational materials. The Internet has also fostered a new culture of sharing, one in which content is freely contributed and distributed with few restrictions or costs.
  • the most visible impact of the Internet on education to date has been the Open educational Resources (OER) movement, which has provided free access to a wide range of courses and other educational materials to anyone who wants to use them. The movement began in 2001 when the William and Flora Hewlett and the Andrew W. Mellon foundations jointly funded MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, which today provides open access to undergraduate- and graduate-level materials and modules from more than 1,700 courses (covering virtually all of MIT’s curriculum). MIT’s initiative has inspired hundreds of other colleges and universities in the United States and abroad to join the movement and contribute their own open educational resources.4 The Internet has also been used to provide students with direct access to high-quality (and therefore scarce and expensive) tools like telescopes, scanning electron microscopes, and supercomputer simulation models, allowing students to engage personally in research.
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  • most profound impact of the Internet, an impact that has yet to be fully realized, is its ability to support and expand the various aspects of social learning. What do we mean by “social learning”? Perhaps the simplest way to explain this concept is to note that social learning is based on the premise that our understanding of content is socially constructed through conversations about that content and through grounded interactions, especially with others, around problems or actions. The focus is not so much on what we are learning but on how we are learning.5
  • This perspective shifts the focus of our attention from the content of a subject to the learning activities and human interactions around which that content is situated. This perspective also helps to explain the effectiveness of study groups. Students in these groups can ask questions to clarify areas of uncertainty or confusion, can improve their grasp of the material by hearing the answers to questions from fellow students, and perhaps most powerfully, can take on the role of teacher to help other group members benefit from their understanding (one of the best ways to learn something is, after all, to teach it to others).
  • This encourages the practice of what John Dewey called “productive inquiry”—that is, the process of seeking the knowledge when it is needed in order to carry out a particular situated task.
  • ecoming a trusted contributor to Wikipedia involves a process of legitimate peripheral participation that is similar to the process in open source software communities. Any reader can modify the text of an entry or contribute new entries. But only more experienced and more trusted individuals are invited to become “administrators” who have access to higher-level editing tools.8
  • by clicking on tabs that appear on every page, a user can easily review the history of any article as well as contributors’ ongoing discussion of and sometimes fierce debates around its content, which offer useful insights into the practices and standards of the community that is responsible for creating that entry in Wikipedia. (In some cases, Wikipedia articles start with initial contributions by passionate amateurs, followed by contributions from professional scholars/researchers who weigh in on the “final” versions. Here is where the contested part of the material becomes most usefully evident.) In this open environment, both the content and the process by which it is created are equally visible, thereby enabling a new kind of critical reading—almost a new form of literacy—that invites the reader to join in the consideration of what information is reliable and/or important.
  • But viewing learning as the process of joining a community of practice reverses this pattern and allows new students to engage in “learning to be” even as they are mastering the content of a field.
  • Mastering a field of knowledge involves not only “learning about” the subject matter but also “learning to be” a full participant in the field. This involves acquiring the practices and the norms of established practitioners in that field or acculturating into a community of practice.
  • Another interesting experiment in Second Life was the Harvard Law School and Harvard Extension School fall 2006 course called “CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion.” The course was offered at three levels of participation. First, students enrolled in Harvard Law School were able to attend the class in person. Second, non–law school students could enroll in the class through the Harvard Extension School and could attend lectures, participate in discussions, and interact with faculty members during their office hours within Second Life. And at the third level, any participant in Second Life could review the lectures and other course materials online at no cost. This experiment suggests one way that the social life of Internet-based virtual education can coexist with and extend traditional education.
  • Digital StudyHall (DSH), which is designed to improve education for students in schools in rural areas and urban slums in India. The project is described by its developers as “the educational equivalent of Netflix + YouTube + Kazaa.”11 Lectures from model teachers are recorded on video and are then physically distributed via DVD to schools that typically lack well-trained instructors (as well as Internet connections). While the lectures are being played on a monitor (which is often powered by a battery, since many participating schools also lack reliable electricity), a “mediator,” who could be a local teacher or simply a bright student, periodically pauses the video and encourages engagement among the students by asking questions or initiating discussions about the material they are watching.
  • John King, the associate provost of the University of Michigan
  • For the past few years, he points out, incoming students have been bringing along their online social networks, allowing them to stay in touch with their old friends and former classmates through tools like SMS, IM, Facebook, and MySpace. Through these continuing connections, the University of Michigan students can extend the discussions, debates, bull sessions, and study groups that naturally arise on campus to include their broader networks. Even though these extended connections were not developed to serve educational purposes, they amplify the impact that the university is having while also benefiting students on campus.14 If King is right, it makes sense for colleges and universities to consider how they can leverage these new connections through the variety of social software platforms that are being established for other reasons.
  • The project’s website includes reports of how students, under the guidance of professional astronomers, are using the Faulkes telescopes to make small but meaningful contributions to astronomy.
  • “This is not education in which people come in and lecture in a classroom. We’re helping students work with real data.”16
  • HOU invites students to request observations from professional observatories and provides them with image-processing software to visualize and analyze their data, encouraging interaction between the students and scientists
  • The site is intended to serve as “an open forum for worldwide discussions on the Decameron and related topics.” Both scholars and students are invited to submit their own contributions as well as to access the existing resources on the site. The site serves as an apprenticeship platform for students by allowing them to observe how scholars in the field argue with each other and also to publish their own contributions, which can be relatively small—an example of the “legitimate peripheral participation” that is characteristic of open source communities. This allows students to “learn to be,” in this instance by participating in the kind of rigorous argumentation that is generated around a particular form of deep scholarship. A community like this, in which students can acculturate into a particular scholarly practice, can be seen as a virtual “spike”: a highly specialized site that can serve as a global resource for its field.
  • I posted a list of links to all the student blogs and mentioned the list on my own blog. I also encouraged the students to start reading one another's writing. The difference in the writing that next week was startling. Each student wrote significantly more than they had previously. Each piece was more thoughtful. Students commented on each other's writing and interlinked their pieces to show related or contradicting thoughts. Then one of the student assignments was commented on and linked to from a very prominent blogger. Many people read the student blogs and subscribed to some of them. When these outside comments showed up, indicating that the students really were plugging into the international community's discourse, the quality of the writing improved again. The power of peer review had been brought to bear on the assignments.17
  • for any topic that a student is passionate about, there is likely to be an online niche community of practice of others who share that passion.
  • Finding and joining a community that ignites a student’s passion can set the stage for the student to acquire both deep knowledge about a subject (“learning about”) and the ability to participate in the practice of a field through productive inquiry and peer-based learning (“learning to be”). These communities are harbingers of the emergence of a new form of technology-enhanced learning—Learning 2.0—which goes beyond providing free access to traditional course materials and educational tools and creates a participatory architecture for supporting communities of learners.
  • We need to construct shared, distributed, reflective practicums in which experiences are collected, vetted, clustered, commented on, and tried out in new contexts.
  • An example of such a practicum is the online Teaching and Learning Commons (http://commons.carnegiefoundation.org/) launched earlier this year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • The Commons is an open forum where instructors at all levels (and from around the world) can post their own examples and can participate in an ongoing conversation about effective teaching practices, as a means of supporting a process of “creating/using/re-mixing (or creating/sharing/using).”20
  • The original World Wide Web—the “Web 1.0” that emerged in the mid-1990s—vastly expanded access to information. The Open Educational Resources movement is an example of the impact that the Web 1.0 has had on Education.
  • But the Web 2.0, which has emerged in just the past few years, is sparking an even more far-reaching revolution. Tools such as blogs, wikis, social networks, tagging systems, mashups, and content-sharing sites are examples of a new user-centric information infrastructure that emphasizes participation (e.g., creating, re-mixing) over presentation, that encourages focused conversation and short briefs (often written in a less technical, public vernacular) rather than traditional publication, and that facilitates innovative explorations, experimentations, and purposeful tinkerings that often form the basis of a situated understanding emerging from action, not passivity.
  • In the twentieth century, the dominant approach to education focused on helping students to build stocks of knowledge and cognitive skills that could be deployed later in appropriate situations. This approach to education worked well in a relatively stable, slowly changing world in which careers typically lasted a lifetime. But the twenty-first century is quite different.
  • We now need a new approach to learning—one characterized by a demand-pull rather than the traditional supply-push mode of building up an inventory of knowledge in students’ heads. Demand-pull learning shifts the focus to enabling participation in flows of action, where the focus is both on “learning to be” through enculturation into a practice as well as on collateral learning.
  • The demand-pull approach is based on providing students with access to rich (sometimes virtual) learning communities built around a practice. It is passion-based learning, motivated by the student either wanting to become a member of a particular community of practice or just wanting to learn about, make, or perform something. Often the learning that transpires is informal rather than formally conducted in a structured setting. Learning occurs in part through a form of reflective practicum, but in this case the reflection comes from being embedded in a community of practice that may be supported by both a physical and a virtual presence and by collaboration between newcomers and professional practitioners/scholars.
  • The building blocks provided by the OER movement, along with e-Science and e-Humanities and the resources of the Web 2.0, are creating the conditions for the emergence of new kinds of open participatory learning ecosystems23 that will support active, passion-based learning: Learning 2.0.
  • As a graduate student at UC-Berkeley in the late 1970s, Treisman worked on the poor performance of African-Americans and Latinos in undergraduate calculus classes. He discovered the problem was not these students’ lack of motivation or inadequate preparation but rather their approach to studying. In contrast to Asian students, who, Treisman found, naturally formed “academic communities” in which they studied and learned together, African-Americans tended to separate their academic and social lives and studied completely on their own. Treisman developed a program that engaged these students in workshop-style study groups in which they collaborated on solving particularly challenging calculus problems. The program was so successful that it was adopted by many other colleges. See Uri Treisman, “Studying Students Studying Calculus: A Look at the Lives of Minority Mathematics Students in College,” College Mathematics Journal, vol. 23, no. 5 (November 1992), pp. 362–72, http://math.sfsu.edu/hsu/workshops/treisman.html.
  • In the early 1970s, Stanford University Professor James Gibbons developed a similar technique, which he called Tutored Videotape Instruction (TVI). Like DSH, TVI was based on showing recorded classroom lectures to groups of students, accompanied by a “tutor” whose job was to stop the tape periodically and ask questions. Evaluations of TVI showed that students’ learning from TVI was as good as or better than in-classroom learning and that the weakest students academically learned more from participating in TVI instruction than from attending lectures in person. See J. F. Gibbons, W. R. Kincheloe, and S. K. Down, “Tutored Video-tape Instruction: A New Use of Electronics Media in Education,” Science, vol. 195 (1977), pp. 1136–49.
Nicole Noel

Social Bookmarking 2.0: Research, Share and Collaborate Online Using Diigo - Jason Rhode, Ph.D. - 1 views

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    Do you struggle to keep track of all your favorite Web sites and other online resources? Would you like to share the links to your favorite online resources with your colleagues or students? Using Diigo, you can both easily bookmark your favorite online resources in the cloud and annotate, share, and collaborate in new ways! This hands-on session will introduce the Diigo collaborative research tool and explore several practical applications for implementing collaborative resource sharing in the classroom.
Christopher Pappas

The Amazing Power of Google Apps for Education - 0 views

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    The Amazing Power of Google Apps for Education Going Google in Education: its hard not to use hyperbolic statements when describing Google Apps for Education. Its that good and its free! The diversity of apps you get with a Google account is astounding. I've felt for years that Google is an Education company and they don't even know it. http://elearningindustry.com/the-amazing-power-of-google-apps-for-Education
Clif Mims

Skype in Schools Educational Directory - 0 views

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    Online directory of educators interested in collaborating via Skype instant messaging and video conferencing. Good way to organize collaboration with classrooms around the world, invite in guest presenters, receive/provide assistance, support and professional development.
Telannia Norfar

Dimdim: Web conferencing that just works. - 0 views

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    WebSite para reuniones on line
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    Another way of video conferencing that is similar to ellumniate and others. Dimdim provides easy, open, affordable collaboration. Use for online meetings, eLearning, desktop sharing, training, distance collaboration, unified collaboration, webinar, free web meetings and more.
LUCIAN DUMA

BLOGGING 2.0 IN XXI CENTURY EDUCATION: I wish you a Christmas with peace my friends and my #edtech20 PLN ; the Birth of Son of God , the reason for Christmas . - 1 views

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    I wish you a Christmas with peace my friends and my #edtech20 PLN ; the Birth of Son of God , the reason for Christmas . I invite you to join #edtech20 facebook page has a new look . Do you like ? If you like please post useful information for teachers related to integrating eSafety of new technologies web 2.0 and social media in education 2.0 . Using #edtech20 hastag http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caransebes-Romania-Dear-members-please-free-to-share-/Web-20-and-new-tehnologies-in-education-still-2010/103495893021586?v=app_186663019975 All the posts will appear on the main page . Let's collaborate and share knowledge toghether also when you join eSafety in #edtech20 PLN http://web20ineducation2010.ning.com/
Clif Mims

Teamie - The Collaborative Learning Network - 40 views

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    Teamie is a cloud-based social platform that makes learning collaborative & fun, enables educators to engage & teach, and drives performance & behavior.
Amanda Kenuam

Simple Storytelling for Special Education Students with Storybird - 1 views

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    "special education, technology, reading, website, social media, reading activity, writing, sharing, education, publishing, web-based activities, stories, storytelling"
Clif Mims

EtherPad: Realtime Collaborative Text Editing - 2 views

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    "Web-based word processor that allows people to work together in really real-time. When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, any changes are instantly reflected on everyone's screen. The result is a new and productive way to collaborate on text documents, useful for meeting notes, drafting sessions, education, team programming, and more."
Clif Mims

National Lab Day - 4 views

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    An initiative to build local communities of support that will foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students and educators. Volunteers, university students, scientists, engineers, other STEM professionals and, more broadly, members of the community are working together with educators and students to bring discovery-based science experiences to students in grades K-12. When an educator posts a project, our system will help them get the resources needed to bring that project to fruition.
LUCIAN DUMA

BLOGGING USING WEB 2.0 AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN EDUCATION IN XXI CENTURY: #edtech20 eSafety project : gr8 (the best ) edtools and apps used in 2010 #edchat you should try in new year 2011 in your projects - 0 views

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    gr8 (the best ) edtools and apps used in 2010 . If you like this post join free and collaborate with educators wordwide . http://www.facebook.com/pages/Web-20-and-new-tehnologies-in-education-still-2010/103495893021586?v=app_112493455447504
Ninja Essays

Great Educational Tools for All Teachers and Students - Berkeley, CA - 0 views

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    "Modern educational technology provides endless opportunities for teachers to make the educational process more interesting and students to become more motivated to learn. Teachers from all around the world have started to rely on educational tools that enhance the students' performance and participation in the classroom."
Barbara Lindsey

Technology in the Middle » Blog Archive » In the Classroom: Global Collaboration - 11 views

  • Technology also determined how the project would end. Considering I was using the internet for overseas contact, I decided to look domestically for the conclusion. As a result of just a few minutes effort using emails I found three US museums (see below) who agreed to take our class interview projects for safe keeping in their archives. I was overwhelmed by the interest in our work and was amazed when the US National WWII Museum in New Orleans asked to have us provide links and information for their website. In conclusion, some simple email and wiki-site contact with a handful of schools brought the WWII period to life for Midwestern students in the US like nothing else could have.
  • Poland offered vivid stories and images of invasion, concentration camps, and families torn apart, and my students were able examine perspectives that were not to be found in our text book.
  • After blanketing the world with polite requests for collaboration things began shaping up. My 6th graders were set to work with schools in Turkey, Lebanon, and Morocco. My 7th graders were set to work with schools in Germany, Denmark, Japan, the Philippines, and most importantly Junior High #4 in Poland.
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  • My students were involved in two projects. One was collecting and discussing input from around the world on WWII, and the other was interviewing someone in their own life who had a connection to the war. The combination of the two projects proved powerful. The process connected them with friends and family who told amazing stories of their youth, they were able to social network with other students on the other side of the world, and we managed to slip in a good deal of history when they were not looking.
Clif Mims

AllThingsPLC - Research, education tools and blog for building a professional learning community - 12 views

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    "This site was created to serve as a collaborative, objective resource for educators and administrators who are committed to enhancing student achievement. We invite you to share your knowledge, ask questions, and get expert insight into the issues teachers face each day in the classroom."
Barbara Lindsey

My School, Meet MySpace: Social Networking at School | Edutopia - 1 views

  • Months before the newly hired teachers at Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy (SLA) started their jobs, they began the consuming work of creating the high school of their dreams -- without meeting face to face. They articulated a vision, planned curriculum, designed assessment rubrics, debated discipline policies, and even hammered out daily schedules using the sort of networking tools -- messaging, file swapping, idea sharing, and blogging -- kids love on sites such as MySpace.
  • hen, weeks before the first day of school, the incoming students jumped onboard -- or, more precisely, onto the Science Leadership Academy Web site -- to meet, talk with their teachers, and share their hopes for their education. So began a conversation that still perks along 24/7 in SLA classrooms and cyberspace. It's a bold experiment to redefine learning spaces, the roles and relationships of teachers and students, and the mission of the modern high school.
  • When I hear people say it's our job to create the twenty-first-century workforce, it scares the hell out of me," says Chris Lehmann, SLA's founding principal. "Our job is to create twenty-first-century citizens. We need workers, yes, but we also need scholars, activists, parents -- compassionate, engaged people. We're not reinventing schools to create a new version of a trade school. We're reinventing schools to help kids be adaptable in a world that is changing at a blinding rate."
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  • It's the spirit of science rather than hardcore curriculum that permeates SLA. "In science education, inquiry-based learning is the foothold," Lehmann says. "We asked, 'What does it mean to build a school where everything is based on the core values of science: inquiry, research, education, presentation, and reflection?'"
  • It means the first-year curriculum is built around essential questions: Who am I? What influences my identity? How do I interact with my world? In addition to science, math, and engineering, core courses include African American history, Spanish, English, and a basic how-to class in technology that also covers Internet safety and the ethical use of information and software. Classes focus less on facts to be memorized and more on skills and knowledge for students to master independently and incorporate into their lives. Students rarely take tests; they write reflections and do "culminating" projects. Learning doesn't merely cross disciplines -- it shatters outdated departmental divisions. Recently, for instance, kids studied atomic weights in biochemistry (itself a homegrown interdisciplinary course), did mole calculations in algebra, and created Dalton models (diagrams that illustrate molecular structures) in art.
  • This is Dewey for the digital age, old-fashioned progressive education with a technological twist.
  • computers and networking are central to learning at, and shaping the culture of, SLA. "
  • he zest to experiment -- and the determination to use technology to run a school not better, but altogether differently -- began with Lehmann and the teachers last spring when they planned SLA online. Their use of Moodle, an open source course-management system, proved so easy and inspired such productive collaboration that Lehmann adopted it as the school's platform. It's rare to see a dog-eared textbook or pad of paper at SLA; everybody works on iBooks. Students do research on the Internet, post assignments on class Moodle sites, and share information through forums, chat, bookmarks, and new software they seem to discover every day.
  • Teachers continue to use Moodle to plan, dream, and learn, to log attendance and student performance, and to talk about everything -- from the student who shows up each morning without a winter coat to cool new software for tagging research sources. There's also a schoolwide forum called SLA Talk, a combination bulletin board, assembly, PA system, and rap session.
  • Web technology, of course, can do more than get people talking with those they see every day; people can communicate with anyone anywhere. Students at SLA are learning how to use social-networking tools to forge intellectual connections.
  • In October, Lehmann noticed that students were sorting themselves by race in the lunchroom and some clubs. He felt disturbed and started a passionate thread on self-segregation.
  • "Having the conversation changed the way kids looked at themselves," he says.
  • "What I like best about this school is the sense of community," says student Hannah Feldman. "You're not just here to learn, even though you do learn a lot. It's more like a second home."
  • As part of the study of memoirs, for example, Alexa Dunn's English class read Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas's account of growing up Iranian in the United States -- yes, the students do read books -- and talked with the author in California via Skype. The students also wrote their own memoirs and uploaded them to SLA's network for the teacher and class to read and edit. Then, digital arts teacher Marcie Hull showed the students GarageBand, which they used to turn their memoirs into podcasts. These they posted on the education social-networking site EduSpaces (formerly Elgg); they also posted blogs about the memoirs.
Christopher Pappas

Creativity as a Gift or as a Choice for the Learner? - 0 views

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    Creativity as a Gift or as a Choice for the Learner? There have been so many opinions shared related to creativity and its role for the educator and for the one being educated. No matter the field, creativity has become a common topic, for educators, businessmen, consultants, managers and other professionals alike. http://elearningindustry.com/creativity-as-a-gift-or-as-a-choice-for-the-learner
Ninja Essays

Students' Development in the Digital Age: Intellectual Freedom or Frivolity? - 0 views

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    The emerging trends of technology tools and e-learning practices have an intense influence over the educational system in the USA. During this time of revolutionary approach towards designing and delivering courses and programs, many new opportunities, challenges, and complications have become apparent. Online education does provide efficient and timely access to learning materials, but today's educational technologies are merely vehicles that deliver instructions without influencing students' achievements.
Barbara Lindsey

Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice - 1 views

  • Supposing learning is social and comes largely from of our experience of participating in daily life? It was this thought that formed the basis of a significant rethinking of learning theory in the late 1980s and early 1990s by two researchers from very different disciplines - Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger. Their model of situated learning proposed that learning involved a process of engagement in a 'community of practice'. 
  • When looking closely at everyday activity, she has argued, it is clear that 'learning is ubiquitous in ongoing activity, though often unrecognized as such' (Lave 1993: 5).
  • Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavour: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope. In a nutshell: Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. (Wenger circa 2007)
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  • Over time, this collective learning results in practices that reflect both the pursuit of our enterprises and the attendant social relations. These practices are thus the property of a kind of community created over time by the sustained pursuit of a shared enterprise. It makes sense, therefore to call these kinds of communities communities of practice. (Wenger 1998: 45)
  • The characteristics of communities of practice According to Etienne Wenger (c 2007), three elements are crucial in distinguishing a community of practice from other groups and communities: The domain. A community of practice is is something more than a club of friends or a network of connections between people. 'It has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people' (op. cit.). The community. 'In pursuing their interest in their domain, members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other' (op. cit.). The practice. 'Members of a community of practice are practitioners. They develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction' (op. cit.).
  • The fact that they are organizing around some particular area of knowledge and activity gives members a sense of joint enterprise and identity. For a community of practice to function it needs to generate and appropriate a shared repertoire of ideas, commitments and memories. It also needs to develop various resources such as tools, documents, routines, vocabulary and symbols that in some way carry the accumulated knowledge of the community.
  • The interactions involved, and the ability to undertake larger or more complex activities and projects though cooperation, bind people together and help to facilitate relationship and trust
  • Rather than looking to learning as the acquisition of certain forms of knowledge, Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger have tried to place it in social relationships – situations of co-participation.
  • It not so much that learners acquire structures or models to understand the world, but they participate in frameworks that that have structure. Learning involves participation in a community of practice. And that participation 'refers not just to local events of engagement in certain activities with certain people, but to a more encompassing process of being active participants in the practices of social communities and constructing identities in relation to these communities' (Wenger 1999: 4).
  • Initially people have to join communities and learn at the periphery. The things they are involved in, the tasks they do may be less key to the community than others.
  • Learning is, thus, not seen as the acquisition of knowledge by individuals so much as a process of social participation. The nature of the situation impacts significantly on the process.
  • What is more, and in contrast with learning as internalization, ‘learning as increasing participation in communities of practice concerns the whole person acting in the world’ (Lave and Wenger 1991: 49). The focus is on the ways in which learning is ‘an evolving, continuously renewed set of relations’ (ibid.: 50). In other words, this is a relational view of the person and learning (see the discussion of selfhood).
  • 'the purpose is not to learn from talk as a substitute for legitimate peripheral participation; it is to learn to talk as a key to legitimate peripheral participation'. This orientation has the definite advantage of drawing attention to the need to understand knowledge and learning in context. However, situated learning depends on two claims: It makes no sense to talk of knowledge that is decontextualized, abstract or general. New knowledge and learning are properly conceived as being located in communities of practice (Tennant 1997: 77).
  • There is a risk, as Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger acknowledge, of romanticizing communities of practice.
  • 'In their eagerness to debunk testing, formal education and formal accreditation, they do not analyse how their omission [of a range of questions and issues] affects power relations, access, public knowledge and public accountability' (Tennant 1997: 79).
  • Perhaps the most helpful of these explorations is that of Barbara Rogoff and her colleagues (2001). They examine the work of an innovative school in Salt Lake City and how teachers, students and parents were able to work together to develop an approach to schooling based around the principle that learning 'occurs through interested participation with other learners'.
  • Learning is in the relationships between people. As McDermott (in Murphy 1999:17) puts it: Learning traditionally gets measured as on the assumption that it is a possession of individuals that can be found inside their heads… [Here] learning is in the relationships between people. Learning is in the conditions that bring people together and organize a point of contact that allows for particular pieces of information to take on a relevance; without the points of contact, without the system of relevancies, there is not learning, and there is little memory. Learning does not belong to individual persons, but to the various conversations of which they are a part.
  • One of the implications for schools, as Barbara Rogoff and her colleagues suggest is that they must prioritize 'instruction that builds on children's interests in a collaborative way'. Such schools need also to be places where 'learning activities are planned by children as well as adults, and where parents and teachers not only foster children's learning but also learn from their own involvement with children' (2001: 3). Their example in this area have particular force as they are derived from actual school practice.
  • learning involves a deepening process of participation in a community of practice
  • Acknowledging that communities of practice affect performance is important in part because of their potential to overcome the inherent problems of a slow-moving traditional hierarchy in a fast-moving virtual economy. Communities also appear to be an effective way for organizations to handle unstructured problems and to share knowledge outside of the traditional structural boundaries. In addition, the community concept is acknowledged to be a means of developing and maintaining long-term organizational memory. These outcomes are an important, yet often unrecognized, supplement to the value that individual members of a community obtain in the form of enriched learning and higher motivation to apply what they learn. (Lesser and Storck 2001)
  • Educators need to reflect on their understanding of what constitutes knowledge and practice. Perhaps one of the most important things to grasp here is the extent to which education involves informed and committed action.
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