Virtual Communities of Practice for Teacher Professional Development: What Works?

By Paul A. Keown.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoP) are often hailed as an excellent way to manage knowledge, share tacit information and sustain innovation. VCoPs have become relatively common in business, but are yet to make a similar impact in education. There is currently a dearth of research on VCoPs for teacher professional development (TPD). This paper reports on a grounded action learning and action research study of three professional development modules using a VCoP approach. The TPD programme aims to assist secondary school teachers implementing recent calls for a focus on values and perspectives in social science programmes. The study investigates a manageable approach to using VCoPs for TPD offering some ideas on how to improve the uptake of VCoPs in education.

Keywords: Virtual Communities of Practice, Teacher Professional Development

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 9, pp.133-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 503.562KB).

Paul A. Keown

Senior Lecturer, Policy, Culture and Social Studies in Education, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Paul Keown began his career as a secondary school teacher of integrated science (Social Studies) and Geography. For the last 20 years he has lectured in integrated social science education and geography at the University of Waikato. Throughout his career Paul Keown has been involved in curriculum research and development and in teacher professional development at the national and international level. Recent publications include: Chalmers, L and Keown, P. (2006) Communities of practice and professional development, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25, 2; Chalmers, L and Keown, P. (2006) Communities of practice and the professional development of geography teachers, Geography: An International Journal, 91, 2; Keown, P and Chalmers, L (2004) Continuing Professional Development of Geography Teachers, Expanding Horizons in a Shrinking World, SAGT Journal, Volume 33.

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