Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog #6 Communities of Practice

“There is, indeed, no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.”

- Jonathan Swift

Etienne Wenger (1998, ¶ 8) stated that a community of practice defines itself along three dimensions:

· What it is about

· How it functions

· What capability it has produced.

There is a beautiful online social network meant to create a community of worshippers from a local church flying in cyber heaven unused. I know. I created it. What I did not do was sufficiently explained what it was about, how it was to function, and what could be produced from it. As a result there was little buy in and no staffer willing to run it.

As an educator I am running into the same sort of conversation with educators unwilling to use emergent technologies with students. They simply do not get it. I am learning that they are simply not fluent in the use of these technologies to apply it to teaching.

There are great resources available that will teach them. There are learning communities that are willing to support them.

Classroom 2.0 is a good example. It is an online social network created by educators interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education.

Edublogs is an environment that allows teachers to create and share blogs about education.

There are many more. Creating professional learning communities is not a new idea. The technologies to expand and explore upon that idea is what is new. And unfortunately, it is that newness that is prohibiting excellent teachers from joining in on the conversation about their use in the classroom.

I purpose that we pick up on the conversation to include the teachers that need that support. We should talk about it in the simplest of terms. And in the conversation explain what it is about, how it is to function, and what could be produced from it.


Wenger, E. (1998 June). Communities of practice learning as a social system.

Systems Thinker. Retrieved from

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