Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Communities and Collaboration
By Barbara Bray    December 4, 2006 -- 09:40 PM

If people collaborate are they part of a community? Are several different types of collaborations mean building community?

There are different types of communities and collaborations. Everything seems to be based on how members of communities collaborate or if they collaborate. Some example collaborations:

  • A person starts a document in Google docs and invites one or two others to collaborate.
  • A person starts a project in eCoach and invites another to co-author the project.
  • A person creates a blog and encourages others to comment.
  • On a personís blog or podcast, the tags connect to other blogs and podcasts.
Can you think of any others?

These examples are specific types of collaborations on projects or documents but not really building a community of practice. What and why would a group start and build a community? Some ideas you might want to consider as reasons to create a ccommunity:
  • lesson study
  • action research
  • standards development
  • analyzing leadership skills
  • improving teaching practice
  • school reform
Communities continue if all members develop a shared vision and goals that encourage continuing the community. Some groups are developed through online courses. When the course is completed, the community usually ends. Thereís no reason to return because no one else is there.

Some groups are started from the top down. Members are mandated to join the community. Not a great incentive for individuals to continue after they did their duty. If each member of the community assists in creating the goals of the community, they have a sense of ownership. If the communityís goals reflect each memberís individual learning goals, there is a better chance for everyone pulling together to make the community a success. 

Categories: "Community" "Collaboration"

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