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Communities of ethical practice : using new technologies for ethical dialectical discourse

By Linda Newman and John Findlay

Abstract

The authors report on a project in which a new experiential form of professional learning combined ethical thinking processes with a collaborative meeting technology known as the Zing team learning system (ZTLS). A new software program called Working Wisely was built by the completion of the project. The ZTLS in combination with Working Wisely facilitates communities of practice (Fleer, Edwards, Hammer, Kennedy, Ridgway, Robbins, & Surman, 2006; Wenger, 1998) focused on ethical issues. The participants in the pilot project included 10 staff members of an early childhood education facility (long day care centre) who met for a series of professional development sessions in a learning community that combined industry, university, and commercial stakeholders. By the end of the project, participants were able to move their knowledge from individual tacit knowledge to shared articulated knowledge with an ethical focus. This paper focuses on the facilities that were embedded in the software to develop thinking and discourse processes. The authors faced challenges in translating paper-based thinking processes with numerous steps into simple methods that could be undertaken on an information communication technology (ICT) platform using the ZTLS. These were resolved by the development of miniature and iterative dialectical thinking processes within thinking steps that facilitated discourse. The use of dialectical and ethical discourse in this community of practice led to positive outcomes and has considerable potential in many other areas of academic endeavour. We have called our new type of interaction Ethical Dialectical Discourse

Topics: communities of practice, experiential learning, information technology, team learning approach in education, learning, moral and ethical aspects, 1303 - Specialist Studies in Education
Publisher: N.Z, International Forum of Educational Technology & Society
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:nuws:uws_8167
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