This week in EDU 520, we learned about Communities of Practice and Personal Learning Communities. Below are some thoughts I’d like to share about these communities.
Communities of Practice and Professional Learning Communities support learning by fostering a supportive, learning relationship within the group. It creates a learning structure where all members of the group have educational goals and an education vision (Adams, 2009). Gunawardena and his colleagues discuss distributed cognition (Socio-cultural, Socio-economic, experience, knowledge and expertise) in support of learning through a CoP. The distributed cognition that the learners in a CoP share helps to reach a common goal and everyone learns from each other despite knowledge or lack of knowledge they possess (Gunawardena, Hermans, Sanchez, Richmond, Bohley, & Tuttle, 2009, p. 9).
CoPs and PLCs support teaching by providing support, exchanging best teaching practices and sharing ideas. (Bouchard, 2012). CoPs and PLCs also create motivation, and desire for improvement through collaboration. Adams discusses the concept of collaborative intelligence, which creates a camaraderie among the teachers which therefore boosts morale and supports teaching (Adams, 2009).
I believe technology enhances these communities it creates a sense of closeness for learners despite the lack of physical proximity. Technology creates many avenues for collaborate learning. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and blogs provide interactions, contributions and the exchange of ideas from people with different backgrounds (Gunawardena, Hermans, Sanchez, Richmond, Bohley, & Tuttle, 2009). These site creates host many topics concerning education and users have the opportunity to be drawn to what interests them in the format learners are most comfortable.
In my opinion, EDU 520 would classify as a PLC or CoP. We all have similar education goals, the discussion posts allow us to share ideas with one another. I believe we are also developing a camaraderie amongst each other as we are all here to learn and would like to see each other succeed. Using blogs further illustrates my point as we will read each other blogs and gain knowledge, ideas and insight. Blogs also help bring a better sense of community. We discover our personalities and academia intertwine within these blogs.
I think the picture below sums up what I am saying:
Dr. Mark Wagner over at GettingSmart.com posted a interesting article about PLCs. He refers to it as PLNs ( Personal Learning Networks). Please check it out. I also discovered a hilarious but informative video that describes PLCs and how they are beneficial to educators. The video is below. Lastly, I would like to know if any of my readers have had any experiences with PLCs or CoPs and if it was beneficial or detrimental to their work and/or learning.
Adams, C. (2009). The power of collaboration. Instructor , 119 (1), pp. 28-31.
Bouchard, J. (2012). EDU520 unit 3 cop, plc. Retrieved November 2014, from Youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Pg3cx7dW1U&feature=youtu.be
Gunawardena, C. N., Hermans, M. B., Sanchez, D., Richmond, C., Bohley, M., & Tuttle, R. (2009). A theoretical framework for building online communities of practice with social networking tools . Educational Media International , 46 (1), 3-16
Marklein, K. (2011). We are your plc. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CsGao_i1BM