Feature: What Role Can Online COPs – Communities of Practice – Play in Achieving Teacher Excellence?
As 2012 unfolds, the Department of Education continues to pursue an important question for closing the achievement gap: How can online communities of practice (COPs) best address some of the most pressing challenges in P-12 education? For the past year, a multi-pronged effort by the Department's Offices of Innovation and Improvement (OII) and Educational Technology (OET) has pursued several critical issues associated with that question.
Following the 2010 release of the National Education Technology Plan, "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology," the OET outlined best practices for managing online communities of practice in a report entitled "Connect and Inspire." The report employed both research literature and observations of mature communities of practice to describe ways that online COPs can help educators access, share, and create knowledge, as well as build a professional identity that goes beyond what is possible face-to-face.
The Transition to Teaching (TTT) Grants Program is administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement. TTT is part of the Teacher Quality Program, which supports and tests innovations in teacher and principal recruitment, preparation, and professional development. Click here to see the Department’s press release.