Last year I was part of the Prato Dialogue – at Florence, before an Infometrics conference at Prato. A wonderful time. There was a picture on the old website before it got blown away. We are next meeting in Setúbal, next week, different group, similar style . . .
Leave Saturday 19th May, two days to recover in Setúbal, then some work, then return.
1. THEKA, www.theka.org/ – www.gulbenkian.pt/portal/index.html – Working with some librarians in a leadership project. We are in the middle of a two week ramp up now.
2. Then one day with an EC project on a small reference/evaluation panel.
In the middle, two days of dialogue, just like Florence. Our themes as they are developing:
- Higher Education/E-learning and CoPs – Pedagogical practice development for f2f lecturers (especially in Engineering) – Is CoP in HE environment an oxymoron? Are lecturers too entrenched in a research driven agenda for this to even matter for them? Why are they able to see CoP’s function in their areas of reasearch (some times, in some areas) but fail to see this for their students or for their teaching lives? Given this can be a difficult and often resistant environment, how do we help learning communities flourish?
- ELearning/Education/Communities of Practice
- Technology Stewardship
- Monitoring and Evaluation in CoPs
- The Relationship Between Communities and Networks
- Web 2 platforms; concepts of ‘anytime, anywhere’ learning; pervasive (all round you) computing etc
- Graphic Facilitation
- Managing reification for learning
- Virtual Worlds and Communities of Practice
- Community development platforms
How we do it: “The essence of our gatherings is conversations rather than presentations. We are flexible and we can change the subject, since our conversations always return to some basic questions about learning, meaning, identity, leadership, and social processes. We mix whole group and break out sessions. As much of our meeting space is out on the terrace, we will work with the weather – whatever it is!”
Why do I like this? Everyone should have a dose every so often in knowledge creation, open sharing and dialogue, even if just a small antidote to the dispersal model in the average conference. It’s refreshing and challenging.
We are online at the moment in Moodle, with some really odd and curious translations by Google.
A technology use survery
Where Do You Fit?
Do you cringe when your cell phone rings? Do you suffer from withdrawal when you can’t check your Blackberry? Do you rush to post your vacation video to your Web site? The questions below allow you to place yourself in one of the categories in the Pew Internet Project’s Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. To identify the typology group to which you belong, please answer the questions . . .
Apparently I fit the ‘connectors’ category. In spite of the fact that I hav just got a cell phone after a 7 month gap.
OK, maybe I’d prefer LearnerTube.com, ULearnTube.com or something, but at least it’s a start.
I think a Professional Leadership Community approach has a lot to offer. But what do we need leadership in teaching for?
Brian Lord and Barbara Miller have this to say:
At present, we do not know enough about teacher leadership to make bold claims for its effectiveness in helping reforms go to scale or improving student achievement. However, preliminary research findings point to one critical feature. Teacher leadership is often treated as a strictly instrumental strategy to increase the number of professional development providers – putting in place more people to provide more contact hours with classroom teachers. This approach offers limited promise of achieving reformers’ goals. Yet, when teachers leaders are part of a wider, systemic strategy, within a well-aligned constellation of district supports (e.g., assessment and accountability systems, programs for curriculum implementation), the potential for impact is greater. For this reason, we view teacher leadership less as a magic bullet for quickly solving the “numbers” problem and more as a critical feature in a coherent and focused set of district policies to address the substantive challenges of reform.
From: Teacher Leadership: An Appealing and Inescapable Force in School Reform? Brian Lord and Barbara Miller, Education Development Center, March 2000.
I agree. Instrumental strategies in any enterprise involving people will do less than succeed. People are not merely productive units. It’s a complex equation: look after the people and a lot of organisational goals will come into line.
Professional learning communities. A rare thing!!