The virtual community of practice promote the followings:
- Curating content
- Consistent formatting
- On-going moderation
- Continued community of practice using face-to-face and virtual meetings between members
- Extending local community to a national community network
- Creating a toolkit for teachers to use computer science principles
- Gathering common data from the various CoP activities
- On-going communication
Benefits of Sharing Expertise
There are many different types of expertise at many different levels around state in teaching students with disabilities. It takes a long time to build expertise for teaching kids in a classroom setting. Kids are different and they grow up in different environments and situations, developing their own cultures in learning. Expert teachers learn how to teach kids in their own context and culture. Generalizing their expertise to other contexts and cultures is challenging; however, sharing and practicing expertise with teachers from different contexts and cultures can help teachers understand and solve their own problems.
Networking with Other Experts
Special educators are sometimes isolated, and must practice their own teaching without much assistance from the same professional community, even though many communities exist in the same area. Finding experts in the same sorts of situations is not easy, and sharing and understanding the practices and problems in different situations is similarly difficult. Finding the right expert is hard, even in the same area of expertise.
UPDN’s Effort on Virtual Community of Practice
The UPDN recognizes these difficulties, and would like to support in two ways. First, the UPDN would like to assist experts with methodologies for sharing the issues and problems they experience when teaching. Experts share their knowledge and solve problems in their own ways, which can sometimes take extra time when solving problems with other experts. Reducing the gap from so many different ways of solving problems among experts is more efficient. The UPDN supports an outcome- and objective-driven community, and will guide experts toward these outcomes and objectives. Second, the UPDN supports technologies and their use. UPDN offers synchronous and asynchronous technologies to experts and provides safeguards in using them for sharing, understanding, and practicing their expertise. Technology with complex functionalities may be a roadblock for practicing expertise. The UPDN helps experts focus on practicing their expertise by facilitating technologies for experts’ needs.