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Communities of Practice: Information Technology

October 5, 2004

Something I have noticed in many international schools with the issue of IT resources, is how various departments, divisions and schools with in school ( ie: Elementary Campus, Middle School Campus and High School Campus) all tend to petition for their own equipment/hardware/ software and then keep it secluded to their specific projects. Or due to a lack of time to talk, share and debrief what each person is doing, one is unaware of what others are doing.

Last week a group of teachers at my school http://www.asij.ac.jp have through the guise of a critical friends groupdecided to create a IT integration support group. This came about from the group sharing their frustration and to be honest dislike of the process of critical friends as facilitated at our school. There was a feeling of disconnect with the process and lack of ownership. As we discussed this issue further gradually, as we tried to identify what we as a group were looking for, the idea of a collective IT support group materialised.

Basically we all felt often projects we wanted to do were being blocked because either there were no resources available in that division of the school, or resistance to share them. Sometimes a resistence and allowing innovation be facilitated within the context of the curriculum and percieved expectations of what was okay or not.

The theme that developed from this group was a desire to do more with video wiothin the classroom contect with kids. It was agreed for all members of this group, via a list serve to start brainstorming ideas together. With the ideas if a member of the group had a resource, time, facility, knowledge or skill they then would be willing to share this.

So what is the big deal! For me it is that too often one gets caught up in a variety of processes to get permission to do things, or petition for hardware requests and you get lost in the bureaucratic and personality blackhole which often is endemic in International Schools.

This way people have an opportunity to try things out of the box, and now there is a group willing to share, and support them….with the only goal and motivation of making sure the group members project idea actually happens…. and who benifits from this, the KEY player = our students…….

Josh R. , a collegue and friend, and I debriefed about this process the other afternoon, and discussed the importance of educators participating and having time to facilitate such a process.

A community of practice.…. 🙂

John@ISETS

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