Teacher engagement in a Web 2.0 world: Developing your online teaching and learning Community of Practice

Map of Online CommunitiesImage by D’Arcy Norman via FlickrEd Flagg and Diana Ayling spoke about the background beind the setting up a community of practice with practitioners at Unitec in NZ. As Ed said – it was 3 years work in 10 minutes. The Community was established online in Ning, based in part on the ICTELT model.

The Community in 2012 is vibrant and lively with over 13,000 views for the year. What Ed and Diana didn’t bank on was having members from around the world, rather than only the Unitec practitioners. It is now the largest online CoP in education in NZ. 31% are female, and 34% are teachers. Only 57% of participants are confident in publishing their ideas online. Only 27% of people have uploaded a profile photo. There are 14 groups within the overall CoP. There have been 254 blog posts, with 88% posted by Ed and Diana. However, the presenters are observing that the modelling of posting and commenting helps increase confidence and model practice…which is gradually rippling through the rest of the community.

We sometimes overestimate our ability to participate. Only a small percentage of the community are creators of the community artefacts.. There has to be trust for an online CoP to work.

Findings to date:

  • Interaction on the site is slow but growing
  • There is a risk in duplication with other sites vs an opportunity to be linked to other sites
  • there is a need to balance the internal demands of staff and needs to share and communicate with the benefirts of interaction in a global learning and teaching world.

Some of the comments to date via a research project are: “This community seems to me to be q1uite includisve in its approach, but 2withoug pressure to either contribute or remain connected”, “Fun trying to keep up though – not a negartive experiences at all…occasionally frustrating”.

The presenters stressed that there is huge potential going forward and threw down the challenge to ASCILITE to facilitate to keep up a global CoP of learning and teaching.

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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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