Communities of Practice

Report
SPDG Day Presentation
July 18, 2011
Cynthia Glimpse
Technical Assistance Coordination Center
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A Professional Learning Community (PLC) is a
place where you can share and exchange
information on particular topics or areas of
interest. In most instances, PLCs are formed
around groups with similar work functions
(educators, engineers, nurses, etc.).
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A Community of Practice (CoP)
extends the sharing and
exchanging of information. It is a
way of working together around
an area of interest or topic.
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It is a strategy for:
sharing, operating and engaging
with
a group of diverse stakeholders
on a regular basis to
enhance the group’s collective
knowledge about their topic or area
of interest.
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In most cases, but not all, CoPs
are formed around stakeholders
with a shared interest and varying
work functions (i.e., educators,
administrators, technical
assistance providers, parents,
etc.).
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Stakeholder groups do not just cut and paste
“best practices” from the past to the current
situation, members:
think creatively about the current situation,
reflect on their experience,
generate insights,
use those insights in the present to solve
problems.
draw on their experience and perspective to
come up with a solution to that problem.
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CoPs frequently link people with common
interests who do not have regular dayto-day contact, the linking is through
conference calls, e-mails, websites, etc.
However, face-to-face meetings help to
build trust and a greater sense of
connection between community
members.
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Organizational support
Time to do the work
A group of people interested in doing
the work
Resources to stay connected: In person
or via technology (phone, internet)
Disseminate work - to your group &
beyond.
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Examples within the
Technical Assistance &
Dissemination (TA&D)
Network
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http://tacommunities.org
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Management Challenge
 Focus on topics important to community
members.
 Find a well-respected community member to
coordinate the community.
 Make sure people have time & encouragement
to participate.
 Build on the core (existing) values of the
organization.
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Community Challenge
 Get key thought leaders involved.
 Build personal relationships among community
members.
 Develop an active, passionate core group.
 Create forums for thinking together as well as
systems for sharing information.
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Technical Challenge
Make it easy to contribute and access the
communities knowledge and practices –
meet people where they are most
comfortable.
Personal Challenge
Create real dialogue about cutting edge
issues – what issue do we need to resolve
now.
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Knowing is a human act, the
heart of sharing is finding
common interests, making real
connections, caring for each
others’ thinking, and building a
community that trusts each other
enough to ask for help and share
ideas.
Richard McDermott
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Center for Disease Control
Visit http://www.cdc.gov/phin/communities to learn more about
the community approach and access the Communities Resource
Kit.
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IDEA Partnership
Visit http://www.ideapartnership.org/ and learn more about the
various communities of practice convened and facilitated by the
IDEA Partnership
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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Educational Organization (UNESCO)
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Visit http://www.ibe.unesco.org/en/communities.html to learn
more about the International Bureau of Education (IBE) that has a
community of practice (CoP) in Curriculum Development.
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Cynthia Glimpse, TACC, [email protected]
Terry Jackson, OSEP, [email protected]
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