Teacher Professional Development in Groups, Communities, and Networks
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Teacher Professional Development in Groups, Communities, and Networks

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Presentation given Nov 6, 2008 at the Trainers in Europe\'s first annual on-line conference on \"the Training of Trainers\"

Presentation given Nov 6, 2008 at the Trainers in Europe\'s first annual on-line conference on \"the Training of Trainers\"

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Teacher Professional Development in Groups, Communities, and Networks Teacher Professional Development in Groups, Communities, and Networks Presentation Transcript

  • Teacher professional development in groups, communities, and networks Vance Stevens Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi Webheads in Action http://webheads.info Network of Trainers in Europe Conference November 6, 2009 http://www.trainersineurope.org/conference/programme/
  • Webheads in Action
    • Group? Community? Network?
      • http://webheads.info
      • http://webheadsinaction.org
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Groups
    • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/evonline2002_webheads/
    • http://uk.360.yahoo.com/learningwithcomputers
    • http://evo08sessionscfp.pbwiki.com/BaW-08
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008 View slide
  • Community
    • WiAOC 2007, Etienne Wenger was asked if his ideas on CoPs had changed as a result of his interactions with Webheads
      • He said that they had regarding the nature of space occupied by the community
        • Webheads clearly a CoP, but with very loosely defined boundaries
        • Webheads freed from constraints on space in spanning so many available spaces in distributing ourselves
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008 View slide
  • Network
    • WiAOC 2007, Stephen Downes distinguished groups, communities, and networks
      • Group forms to disseminate information, might not necessarily be a community
      • Community implies
        • Greater interaction, members impacting one another
        • Community of practice suggests that interaction directed toward professional development of all concerned
      • Distributed learning networks
        • Connectivist: configuration of ‘the pipe’ more crucial than its contents (Siemens, 2005)
        • Knowledge resides in network, accessible via numerous nodes
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Knowing
    • In Downes’s view, expert system flawed because knowledge
      • Not derived from algorithmic processes
      • Not linearly derived in series of if/then junctures
    • Knowledge is
      • Connectionist
      • Pattern driven, as embodied in networks
      • Resides at nodes which online comprise distributed learning networks
    • To become knowledgeable one
      • Develops competencies for accessing those nodes
      • Systematizes information available there
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Ineffability
    • To Cartesian-logical minds, network solutions appear counter-intuitive until experienced
      • For example, how can Wikipedia work unregulated and ‘bottom up’ to create an encyclopedia that is in many ways superior to the traditional ‘top down’ authoritatively published ones?
      • Benefit to learning, says Downes, is beyond articulation or description, but is rather, ineffable .
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Modeling
    • Anecdotal evidence suggests
      • Teachers who do not model appropriate uses of technology predispose students to avoid technology
      • Teachers who use technology in classes positively influence students to experiment with technology in applying skills as
        • Autonomous learners
        • Problem-solvers
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Implications
    • Teachers who explore and exploit opportunities for interaction with peers in online environments
      • More likely to adapt techniques they themselves use for professional development in their own classes
      • Thereby MODEL these practices for students
    • As Downes notes
      • To teach is to model and to demonstrate
      • To learn is to practice and reflect
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Conclusion
    • Teachers who practice autonomy in their own professional development
      • Formulate heuristics for harvesting knowledge within their personal learning spaces
      • Inculcate desired behaviors in their students, thus increasing likelihood of producing potentially autonomous and lifelong learners.
    • In order to teach (to model and demonstrate) one must constantly learn and re-learn, meaning
      • Practice the behaviors one models (how else to model them?)
      • Reflect on the ramifications of those behaviors
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • Abstract
    • At the second WiAOC conference, Etienne Wenger (2007) gave one of our keynotes and I asked him if his ideas on CoPs had changed at all as a result of his interactions with Webheads. Surprisingly, he said that they had, especially regarding the nature of space occupied by the community. He said that we knew who we were in terms of domain and practice but that we had freed ourselves from constraints on space in spanning so many available spaces in distributing ourselves, and that this was a revelation to him in that we were clearly a CoP, but with very loosely defined boundaries. At that same online conference, Stephen Downes (2007) spoke to us about the distinction between groups, communities, and networks. A YahooGroup characterizes that first level of interaction, where a group forms to disseminate information, but might not necessarily be a community. A community implies greater interaction where members are impacting one another, and a community of practice suggests that this interaction is directed toward the professional development of all concerned. For some time Webheads have considered themselves a CoP but with so many more opportunities for connectivist knowledge to be disseminated across many groups and communities (Siemens, 2004), Downes's notion of individuals interacting as nodes in a complex and interlaced distributed learning network is the one that I think best fits Webheads in its current configuration. I think this is what Etienne was getting at when he said that Webheads had freed themselves from constraints on spaces in which to meet, and thus his notion of what characterizes a CoP might be merging with the connectivist network model (Stevens, 2007).
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008
  • References
    • Stevens, Vance. (2007). The Multiliterate Autonomous Learner: Teacher Attitudes and the Inculcation of Strategies for Lifelong Learning Independence , Winter 2007 (Issue 42) . Retrieved November 9, 2007 from http://www.learnerautonomy.org/VanceStevens.pdf
    • Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: Learning as network-creation. http://www.learningcircuits.org/2005/nov2005/seimens.htm
    • From Webheads online conference keynotes, WiAOC 2007 http://wiaoc.org
      • Our conversation with Etienne Wenger was recorded here: http://streamarchives.net/node/56
      • Stephen Downes spoke on Personal Learning the Web 2.0 Way:
        • Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/Downes/personallearning-the-web-20-way
        • Audio Part 1: http://streamarchives.net/node/84
        • Audio Part 2: http://streamarchives.net/node/83
    Vance Stevens, Trainers of Europe, Nov 2008