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Using online communities of practice for continuous improvement

Online CoPs enable like-minded educators to share ideas, questions, successes, and failures, while collaborating to find solutions

online-communitiesToday’s smart educator needs to become better connected to resources, tools, learning activities, and peers—both inside and outside school. The growth of online communities of practice (CoPs)—often a chief component in professional learning communities—reflects a continued commitment to working collaboratively with your peers toward improving student success.

You might be asking, what are communities of practice?

By definition, a community of practice is a collection of people who engage on an ongoing basis in a common endeavor, such as a bowling team, a book club, a friendship group, or a church congregation. Two crucial elements of CoPs are a shared experience over time and a commitment to shared understanding (Penelope Eckert, 2006). The progress of CoPs in education is reflected in the growing number of educators collaborating through online communities, most apparent via Google and other social media platforms.

(Next page: How effective are communities of practice?)

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