eLearning Africa 2016 (VI). Creating Communities of Practice for Teachers

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Creating Communities of Practice for Teachers

Would you like to hear about the methods and tools to enhance teachers’ pedagogical skills? Learn how communities of practice, by and for teachers, can influence professional development.

Chairperson: Mohamed Ahmed, Mansoura University, Egypt

Hela Nafti, Tunisian Education and Resource Network TEARN, Tunisia
Achieving Peace by Building Sustainable Global Online Learning Communities

SDG Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Learners have to acquire skills and, most especially, attitudes and values — because information is everywhere.

iEARN: 130 countries, 30 languages, 40,000 educators, 2 million youth. iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is the world’s largest non-profit global network that enables teachers and youth to use the Internet and other technologies to collaborate on projects that enhance learning and make a difference in the world.

Learning Circles promote theme-based project work integrated with the classroom curriculum. Working with Learning Circle partners from around the world help students develop important interpersonal skills. Learning Circles also encourage interactions among teachers providing a very different model of professional development.

A Learning Circle is created by a team of 6-8 teachers and their classes joined in the virtual space of an electronic classroom. The groups remains together over a 3-4 month period working on projects drawn from the curriculum of each of the classrooms organized around a selected theme. At the end of the term the group collects and publishes its work. Then, just as any class of students does, the Learning Circle comes to an end. Each session begins with new groupings of classes into Learning Circles.

Created a Tunisian circle to deal about peace and sustainable development.

Capacity building, teacher training is the most relevant thing for teachers: you can not teach if you do not know how to.

Paul Waibochi, CEMASTEA, Kenya,
Using Social Media (Whatsapp) in Enhancing Teacher Pedagogical Competencies: Case Study Cemastea – Lesson Study Model

How can we improve teachers’ competences in how to deliver the curriculum through m-learning: how to use Whatsapp for education and learning purposes.

In infrastructure matters, Kenya is ready: 80% mobile uptake, high bandwidth per person, familiarity with mobile services (e.g. m-pesa), etc.

Process of teachers working in teams to develop lessons to adress an identified problem amongst learners. The developed lesson is taught by one of the teachers while others observe. The team discusses the taught lesson and make improvements.

The purpose of m-learning is more access (you save travelling of both students and teachers), more efficiency and quality. Now lessons are not only face-to-face, so they are not so much time-constrained, and happen instead on a blended-learning basis.

Another good thing about Whatsapp is that it supports multimedia: the teacher can teach and videotape the lesson and then share it through Whatsapp where other teachers can observe and comment.

Finally, the idea is to create a community of teachers that engage in the project, help each other, share their outputs. In parallel to that, the teachers acquire or strengthen 21st century skills, like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, etc. in addition to constant professional development and regular orientation and training.

Discussion

Q: How do we select the teachers? Waibochi: they come from the same grade, and from the same topic to be taught at a particular class.

Q: how do you eliminate “noise” from Whatsapp groups? Waibochi: it is about defining well what is going to be the topics of conversation, and stick with them.

Q: how do you measure the expected outcomes in the communities of practice? How do you evaluate results? Waibochi: there are screening surveys that are used to evaluate what the students knew before and after the intervention.

Q: Why not your own chatting platform? Waibochi: not only Whatsapp, but also Facebook accounts. The technology is already there and everybody is using it.

eLearning Africa (2016)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2016) “eLearning Africa 2016 (VI). Creating Communities of Practice for Teachers” In ICTlogy, #152, May 2016. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=4444

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