This communication presents the lessons learned from PRAXIS Project, an experience within academic professional learning communities (APLC) in the context of Universidad de la República, a public university institution from Uruguay. PRAXIS Project aims to explore the potential and benefits of APLC for the reflection and transformation of teaching practices and the integration of digital technologies (DT) in a meaningful way in teaching, as a strategy towards fostering critical literacies, teaching innovations and open educational practices (OEP).
The theoretical and methodological framework combined action research (Carr & Kemmis, 1988) situated within communities of learning and practice (Wenger, 1998), with an open educational practices perspective (Cronin, 2017).
One of the project activities was the ALPC work developed, framed by a course that lasted three months, directed to university teachers with at least one year of experience in the uptaking of digital technologies in the classroom. Senior and early career educators from very diverse disciplines, such as natural, health, and social sciences, engineering and art, took part of the process. The course syllabus was structured in three major methodological-conceptual modules that addressed the topics in a deepening sequence: it began with the identification of teaching practices with DT; then focused on the reflection on teaching practices with DT and finally worked on the transformation of teaching practices with DT through micro innovations. A variety of reflective practice instruments were developed, i. e. face to face group meetings, peer-crossed observations of teaching practices, analysis of critical incidents, and reflective writing-blog posts with peer comments. These written exchanges were openly shared in the academic social network Comunidad ProEVA http://comunidad.proeva.edu.uy/, based on Elgg free software. The effect of sharing openly these posts was a central aspect in the discussions and reflections of the course participants during group meetings.
At the same time, the PRAXIS team developed OEP strategies, by opening to the interested public the team work sessions originally planned as internal seminars. These sessions were converted to open webinars that involved the participation of the Uruguayan team and also collaborators from abroad. These webinars had an important impact on the educational community of Uruguay, which went beyond the limits of the project, spreading the benefits of open practices.
Key conclusions of the PRAXIS experience emphasize the impact of combining OEP, APLC approaches, and collaborative and participatory technologies for the transformation of teaching practices.
Carr, W., & Kemmis, S. (1986). Becoming Critical: Education, Knowledge, and Action Research. Deakin University.
Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(5). Available at: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3096 [Accessed 30 Nov 2018]
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Martin Hawksey posted an update in the session PRAXIS: Professional Learning Communities and burgeoning Open Educational Practices for reflection a 3 years, 8 months ago
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