An online community of practice Reflective Learning Lynne Gibb Coonara Community House
“The dove is a bird of peace and therefore when we reflect in our COP it is a safe area. When we are speaking in it people can speak openly and freely without fear of judgement and criticism”.
“The bird is flying and I can fly too – I can be carried on the back of everybody in the group!”
Wenger’s Description 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.
The Project • Could we effectively deliver a unit from the Community Services training package via an online community of practice? • To explore the concept of technology stewarding along the lines proposed by Wenger, White & Smith in “Digital habitats: stewarding technology for communities”
The students • Seven Diploma of children’s services students • Beginning the course – first unit • Technology skills audit • Moderate computer skills/1 basic • All had computer access and broadband at home • All students currently employed in the early childhood/child care industry
What actually happened? • Students became overwhelmed with the amount of new technology to learn in a short space of time and right at the beginning of the course
What did we do? Phew!!! Happy me!!
How did we do it? Three modes • A CoP wiki – reflecting publicly • Separate personal reflective wiki spaces for each student – reflecting privately • Elluminate online sessions – sharing information/networking
General Class Wiki Introductory 2 X 3hr sessions F2F
Elements of the project • Unit run over 2 ⅟2 months concurrently with other units face-to-face • Reflective questions and interactions with facilitator and industry experts in Community of Practice wiki • Information sessions in elluminate • Reflecting on learning in personal wikis • Assessments uploaded to personal wikis – reflecting and participation in various spaces part of one assessment.
CoP Wiki http://openhouseopenlearning.coonarahouse.org.au
Elluminate Support Sessions 1 x 3hr intro session F2F followed by 5 x 1 hour sessions in Elluminate
What worked well in the learning? Access to Industry experts (IE) Having another facilitator in some elluminate sessions IEs enjoyed having input into student learning Students enjoyed learning in elluminate Reflecting in personal wikis
Technology Stewarding? Tech Steward (TS) role important Tech steward can concentrate on technology and support student /trainer technology needs Assist in online classroom, designing spaces etc Facilitator can concentrate on facilitating & supporting student learning