Creating and maintaining online communities of practice in Malaysian Smart Schools

Challenging realities

Siew Ming Thang, Carol Hall, Puvaneswary Murugaiah, Hazita Azman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Wenger describes an educational community of practice (CoP) as a group of professionals who share a passionate concern for practice-based issues and who voluntarily choose to deepen their knowledge, understanding and skills through collaborative and critical dialogue. Peer collaboration of this kind, which involves social interaction, reflection and a critical engagement with practice issues, has been widely suggested to be effective for teacher learning and professional development. The online continuing professional development for teachers (e-CPDelT) Vision 2020 model outlined here aims to bring about innovation in practice through an online or virtual CoP (VCoP). Twenty Malaysian teachers in five Smart Schools were invited to take part in a Higher Education (HE) project, funded by one of the main universities in Malaysia. By participating collaboratively in this CoP, it was anticipated that the teachers would form an active online CoP that would lead in turn to innovation in teaching and learning practices in the schools. An action research approach was used in tracing the developmental process of the three subject-based CoPs (namely, Mathematics, Science and English) and identifying challenges faced by the higher education institution (HEI) project team in fostering the active participation and commitment of the teachers. Preliminary data generated from mentor forum discussion, focus groups and blogs suggested that low levels of participation in VCoP activities were a result of low levels of trust and social affiliation, performance anxiety, time pressure and failure to see the relevance of online interaction as directly related to their individual needs as practitioners. Approaches to remediating these challenges and promoting more authentic teacher engagement are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-105
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Action Research
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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internet community
school
teacher
innovation
virtual community
participation
interaction
research approach
weblog
action research
learning
community
Malaysia
education
Group
dialogue
mathematics
commitment
anxiety
university

Keywords

  • Community of practice
  • Continuing professional development
  • Online learning
  • Smart Schools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Creating and maintaining online communities of practice in Malaysian Smart Schools : Challenging realities. / Thang, Siew Ming; Hall, Carol; Murugaiah, Puvaneswary; Azman, Hazita.

In: Educational Action Research, Vol. 19, No. 1, 03.2011, p. 87-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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