World Teachers’ Day celebrates teachers and the organizations that support them. We would like to recognize their efforts by offering a resource to make it all a little easier. Technology can be used to connect and support teachers through virtual communities of practice. If you haven’t already found a place where you can connect with colleagues to exchange ideas and information, give it a try this month and see how it can benefit you. If you are already a member, consider how you can improve the way you use your community. Here are some tips from Cynthia Zafft:
Right now, I belong to several LINCS community of practice (COP) discussion groups (there are 14 in all). Here are five ways I have used the LINCS COP for my own professional growth:
- Connecting with other adult educators. Being an adult education practitioner can be pretty lonely. Most education communities and resources focus on K-12 or postsecondary education. The LINCS COP connects me to other adult educators.
- Finding resources that work for adult learners. Along with the LINCS Resource Collection, discussions are often scheduled when new resources are added. It’s very helpful to hear how the author created and uses the resource.
- Keeping track of the big picture. There are changes in adult education that I would not know about if it wasn’t for the COP subject matter experts who arrange for discussions and webinars on emerging topics.
- Reading now and/or later. If a discussion looks interesting but I just don’t have time to follow it at the moment, I bookmark it and come back to it later. I also “save” interesting discussions by bookmarking them.
- Stepping into the future. It’s hard to encourage students and teachers to use technology in meaningful ways if I don’t do so myself. Being part of a virtual community of practice is one of my ways of practicing what I preach.
To join the LINCS COP, go to http://lincs.ed.gov/ and click on “Join the Community”. Create an account, select which group/s you would like to join, and you’re on your way! Do you belong to other groups? Do you recommend them for others? Share them in the comments!