Communities of practice that are working
1 / 38

Communities of Practice that are Working - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on

Communities of Practice that are Working. Welcome. Mark Guzdial (Georgia Inst. of Technology) Steve Weimar (Drexel University) Neil Brown (University of Kent, UK) Shay Pokress (MIT Media Lab) Lisa Henry (Brookfield High School, Ohio) Moderator: Nathaniel Titterton (U.C. Berkeley).

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about ' Communities of Practice that are Working' - walker

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript


Mark Guzdial (Georgia Inst. of Technology)

Steve Weimar (Drexel University)

Neil Brown (University of Kent, UK)

Shay Pokress (MIT Media Lab)

Lisa Henry (Brookfield High School, Ohio)

Moderator: Nathaniel Titterton (U.C. Berkeley)

Disciplinary commons
Disciplinary Commons

Group of educators from diverse institutions who teach within the same subject area meeting monthly over an academic year.

In monthly increments, the participants prepare a course portfolio.


  • To document and share knowledge about student learning in Computer Science classrooms.

  • To establish practices for the scholarship of teaching by making it public, peer-reviewed, and amenable for future use and development by other educators. [1]

#1 worked.#2 didn’t.

[1] Tenenberg, J. and Fincher, S. Opening the door of the computer science classroom: the Disciplinary Commons. SIGCSE Bull., 39, 1 2007, 514-518.


Disciplinary Commons for Computing Educators

Adaptation – High School teachers AND university


  • Creating community

  • Sharing resources and knowledge of how things are taught in other contexts


  • Supporting student recruitment within the high school environment


  • Building Community

    Measured through SNA analysis

  • Sharing Resources

    Measured through reusable resources and change of practice

  • Improving Recruitment

    Measured through surveys

Building community
Building Community

Year 2 high school university






Improving recruiting
Improving Recruiting

  • 302% increase in number of AP CS students in the year following their participation in the DCCE

  • Year of participation – 122 students enrolled

  • Next year – 491 students pre-registered

  • One teacher 700% increase (3 to 24 students)

  • Reason?

    • Platform to share recruitment ideas

    • Sense of community (keep up morale during recruiting)

The math forum

The Math Forum

Steve Weimar

An online math education community hosted by:

1992 Swarthmore College

2000 WebCT

2001 Drexel University

3 million visits/month

1 million+ pages of content

Over 100,000 students mentored

Pd for thousands of teachers

Steve Weimar

[email protected]


  • Follow on to Visual Geometry project

  • Discussion groups: geometry pre-college/college/research/puzzles, NCTM

  • Onsite workshops and

    summer institutes:

    teachers exploring

  • Problems of the Week: Mentoring problem-solving, NCTM standards

  • Ask Dr. Math: College students exploring

  • Internet Math Library: organizing and sharing resources


Go/work where the action is

Attend to the people

Do the professional work that you enjoy with others

Knowledge-building from interactions

Focus on thinking and creating

Rounded portfolio of activity

First to market


  • Collaborative projects bridging communities: BRAP, ESCOT, T2T, VMT, Math Images

  • Professional development: online workshops, district contracts, pre-service teacher modules, online graduate degree

  • Apply communities and online math to other areas: MathTools, Financial Education

  • Extend social media presence


  • Facilitate multiple levels of engagement

  • Value add: teacher professional development layer for other efforts

  • Bridge communities and bring the math to other disciplines

  • Connect the informal and formal

  • Persist. Invest in those who make this their work.

Two Broad Areas of Study of The Math Forum

Communities of Practice - Wesley Shumar, Culture and Communication, Drexel University

Interest and Success with Online Learning for Students and for Teachers - Ann Renninger, Education, Swarthmore College:

Computing at school

Computing At School

Neil Brown (@twistedsq)

University of Kent/Computing At School

  • Mixture of online and face-to-face interaction

  • Network of ~50 local "hubs", running ad-hoc (mostly peer-to-peer) training

  • CAS Online is the community site, which our research group designed (based on our Greenroom site), and now run/administer

  • 2,500 members: teachers, higher education, industry

  • 350 resources in six months since launch

The math and science partnership network
The Math and Science Partnership Network

Shay Pokress, MIT Media Lab Formerly of TERC in Cambridge, MA

From 2003 - 2012: Community facilitator and content manager for, the online community for the Math Science Partnership Network (MSP)

Now at the MIT Media Lab's Center for Mobile Learning, doing education outreach and curriculum development for the App Inventor project

Mspnet org

  • A project of TERC, funded by the National Science Foundation as a major part of the MSP program

  • MSPnet serves over 100 MSP projects:

    • new projects

    • veteran projects

    • past projects

  • MSPnet's major goals:

    • dissemination

    • knowledge building and sharing

    • online tools for MSP projects

    • facilitated communication between and among MSPs

Dimensions that guide development of new online communities
Dimensions that guide developmentof new online communities

1. Nature of the community

–Size: how big is the group on the whole, how big are key subgroups

–Accessibility: open to all, closed to members, a little of each?

–Shared interests: how the group (and subgroups) are connected

2. Nature of the PD Experience

–Building a knowledge base/resource center?

–Place for meeting and discussion?

–What kinds of interactions should be possible?

3. Nature of the audience and of the “products”

–Is dissemination a goal?

–Is the community private or public? (… or a little of both?)

4. Focus of leadership and facilitation

–Who controls membership, content, and moderation? Central or distributed control?

Falk & Drayton, Creating and Sustaining Online Professional Learning Communities, Teachers College Press, 2009.

Dimensions of mspnet
Dimensions of MSPnet

1. Nature of the community

MSPnet serves roughly 5,000 members who have different levels of shared interest. This shapes the structure of the site in that it has a central "hub" for everyone, and also project spaces for each project.

2. Nature of the PD Experience

MSPnet is a place to share knowledge and find resources for many different constituents. As such it offers various ways to collaborate: public webinars and private videoconferences; cross-project discussions and private working groups; public reports and members-only docs.

Falk & Drayton, Creating and Sustaining Online Professional Learning Communities, Teachers College Press, 2009.

Dimensions of mspnet1
Dimensions of MSPnet

3. Nature of the audience and of the “products”

MSPnet serves the public as well as the MSP projects. A major product is to capture, disseminate, and archive the work of the MSP program. As such, MSPnet is many different things rolled into one: a hybrid of an online community and a program repository.

4. Focus of leadership and facilitation

Membership to MSPnet is restricted to members of MSP projects. Some parts are publicly available. MSPnet is centrally controlled (by TERC), but project-level administration and moderation is left to the individual projects. So, again, a hybrid.

Falk & Drayton, Creating and Sustaining Online Professional Learning Communities, Teachers College Press, 2009.

Lessons learned from a decade of online community facilitation
Lessons learned from a decade of online community facilitation

What makes an online community successful?


Lessons learned from a decade of online community facilitation1
Lessons learned from a decade facilitationof online community facilitation

You don't just build it.

You have to actively nurture it... but how?

  • regular communication: push news out via email, twitter, etc.

  • fresh content all the time - make latest posts, resources, webinars, etc. clearly visible and easy to access

  • outreach and support - someone has to know the community's people and be available to them

    Regular and frequent content managementand community facilitation is key.

Twitter math camp
Twitter Math Camp facilitation

@TMathC on Twitter

Lisa Henry, lead organizer

Brookfield High School, Brookfield, OH

[email protected]

@lmhenry9 on Twitter

Kate Nowak facilitation

Dan Meyer

Sam Shah

Kristen Fouss and I at her school in October, 2010 facilitation

Amber Caldwell, myself, Sarah Bratt, Ashley Fago, and Kristen Fouss at a Tweetup at NCTM, Indianapolis, April, 2011

Social Activities facilitation

<end> facilitation

Big issues
Big Issues facilitation

  • Online support, especially vs. face to face

  • Notions of community (beyond the tool)

  • What does effective community look like? What results should we get?

  • Community before the tool: A tool can extend existing face-to-face relationships

  • Facilitation best practices

  • Informing the CoP tool itself

  • How to make things useful to teachers with different backgrounds

  • How to follow-up on PD online

  • Why will they come if we build it?

Seeding questions
Seeding questions facilitation