Thursday, November 12, 2009

Conference III: Etienne Wenger on CoPs

CoPs means Communities of Practice, i. e., a group of people sharing common interests, interacting regularly, learning from each other, and seeking to improve their ability to do what they all do. There is a learning partnership between them, there is a link between knowledge and the people who know. These two cannot be separated. It is a way of living in practice and to have fun with knowledge.
The most influential teachers are those who invite you to join a community with a social discipline of learning. The SDL includes as key dimensions the Domain (negotiation on the topics that keep the group together), the Community (definition of who is a part of it and what roles are played by whom)and the Practice (shared experiences which create identity).
Technology stewards are people who understand the community's technological needs and lead technological implementation. Their first task is to understand the community in order to determine the right technology for it. Then they help the adoption and everyday use of the technology chosen.
Digital habitats are configurations of tools. Different communities need different technologies. Technologies simply help to keep them togeteher. There must be a balance between the group and the individuals. Blogs are a more individualistic sort of technology, while discussion boards and wikis are more collective. Wenger also recommends the use of open-source software.

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