Communities of Practice or CoPs are people who work together in the same field. They are a group of people that share the same profession and work together. These people form a community. This community works together and supports one another regarding the specific field. CoPs are where everyone works together and while the student is mastering the skills, the teacher is a learning partner in the process. It is face to face and they are present. The teachers work together to enhance learning and at that same time, teaching is being supported. Learning from one another as professionals while teaching others and gaining from that experience to better ourselves and those around us. This is building a community. The community or group have a common bond and interest. When sharing and working together in a group, we are creating a process wher we gain strengths while strengthening others.CoPs support learning as well do PLCs or professional learning communities/
PLCs are where teachers get together and learn from each other. According to Cranston (2011), personal learning communities focus on binding three concentric circles. The outermost part of the circle shows a representation of the teaching faculty and the community and the innermost part of the circle shows the teachers and children while the centre of the circle represents the relationship between the school and faculty members. (Cranston 2011). The teachers share what is going on with the students and what may be going on inside their classroom. It is a way for teachers to learn from each other and better themselves which in turn will benefit their students. In a professional learning community teachers work together on problems and situations on may be facing. The colleagues work together to help find solutions.Teachers are talk about their experience and they are there to learn. We as teachers are lifelong learners. When we form a community to be encouraged by fellow educators who actually support us it is a great thing that we can do. Looking to share our mishaps and get advice for our weaknesses and downfalls with others in our fields prepares ourselves to better the lives of those we teach.
Technology can really enhance PLCs. According to Adams, when PLCs work correctly, they can transform schools.(2009).
Technology can aslo benefit CoPs as well. The internet brings us all closer together. Virtually we can support each other and learn many things as well as share our experiences as educators whether we are at school, home or anywhere. Technoly may take away from people coming together and sitting face to face because now everything can be done online basically but it can also go back to even though we may not actually be in the presence of one another physically we are all there in a virtual world lending our supporting and ready to learn. There are huge changes in the web. It is now Web 2,0. Social media is a common thing we all use to learn and to teach. We use social media to experience and exchange building a sense of togetherness even though we are not face to face,This way technology changes and enhances both CoPs and PLCs. According to Gunawardena (2009), the web 2.0 has many applications that provide support for people coming together as a community and learn collectively as whole while sharing experience.This develops a sense of community and learning together as a team although it is all virtual.
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. doi: 10.1080/09523980802588626
Adams, C. (2009). The power of collaboration. Instructor, 119(1), 28-31.
This learning activity was interesting. I enjoyed getting to know what CoPs and PLCs are. There is so much that we can do for others and so much we can all learn from each other to better the lives of the ones we teach.
What would you contribute to a Professional Learning Community and why?