Communities of practice and professional development
The Internet has had a transformative effect on many aspects of contemporary living. While there may be a tendency to overstate the impacts of this technology, workplaces and work practices in many societies have been greatly affected by almost instant access to massive amounts of information, delivered through broadening bandwidth. This paper embeds a discussion of professional development in this technological context, and comments on the emergence of a range of Internet-based tools designed to assist with the delivery of professional development programs for secondary teachers. We argue that the tools by themselves are not enough to guarantee effective professional development and that building ‘communities of practice' will become significant in lifelong learning models. We discuss some work undertaken in a professional development project with secondary school teachers distributed at a distance from the host institution.
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