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Identify community of interest

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Last updated by Glen
 

Focus

Identify a cluster of schools with shared interests and needs.

Explanation

Careful thought must be given to the grouping of learning organisations that might participate in a Learning Community Online (LCO). A key factor likely to ensure the long term life of an LCO, and therefore the level of ongoing commitment, are the points of commonality that encourage natural alliances. This may be as a result of existing networking relationships - for instance, membership of a local principals’ association. Such groups might be considered to represent a geographic community of interest. Alternatively, they may reflect special character networks or educational philosophy, such as schools that teach in Te Reo Māori, Catholic schools, or Montessori schools.

The size of the cluster is also important. Too many schools may make it logistically difficult to manage, while too few may not provide the necessary economy of scale to achieve the breadth of opportunity that is expected. Experience would suggest that 6 to 10 would be an ideal range, especially in the first few years, although as the clusters develop and mature this would of course change and evolve. Economically, larger communities might be more effective once established.

It should be noted here that some groups could first explore the possibility of joining an existing LCO if this meets their needs, or alternatively establish a satellite LCO with an existing cluster as they grow and develop a new independent cluster.

Action

  • Identify areas of common interest for the establishment of the LCO.
  • Explore the range of existing opportunities before developing a new LCO.
  • Identify people who will be key drivers in your initial leadership group.