Leveraging online communities in fostering adaptive schools

  • David Hung
  • Kenneth Y. T. Lim
  • Der-Thanq Victor Chen
  • Thiam Seng Koh


There has long been a call for schools to prepare students for the twenty-first century where skills and dispositions differ significantly from much of what has historically characterized formal education. The knowledge based economy calls for policy and pedagogical efforts that would transform schools. Schools are to foster communities of learners. This paper suggests that para-communities may be points of leverage in the fostering of adaptive schools. A critical analysis is done on the differences between para-communities (such as online communities) and schools; and an argument is made that they each serve differing goals and should be left distinct because they achieve different societal and economic demands.


Online community Community of practice Adaptive organization Adaptive school Paracommunity Community of interest Community of learners Trust-networks 


  1. Anderson, C. (2006). The long tail: Why the future of business is selling less of more. New York, NY: Hyperion.Google Scholar
  2. Barab, S., & Duffy, T. (2000). From practice fields to communities of practice. In D. Jonassen & S. Land (Eds.), Theoretical foundations of learning environments. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Barab, S. A., Kling, R., & Gray, J. (Eds.) (2004). Designing for virtual communities in the service of learning. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Barab, S. A., MaKinster, J. G., & Scheckler, R. (2004). Designing system dualities: Characterizing an online professional development community. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for virtual communities in the service of learning (pp. 53–90). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bielaczyc, K., & Collins, A. (1999). Learning communities in classrooms: A reconceptualization of educational practice. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models (vol. II). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (Eds.) (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, D., & Prusak, L. (2001). In good company. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.Google Scholar
  8. Collins, A., Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004). Design research: Theoretical and methodological issues. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 15–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Edelson, D. C. (1997). Realizing authentic science learning through the adaptation of science practice. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 317–331). Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  10. Edelson, D. C., Gordin, D. N., & Pea, R. D. (1999). Addressing the challenges of inquiry-based learning through technology and curriculum design. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 8, 391–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edelson, D. C., Pea, R. D., & Gomez, L. (1995). Constructivism in the collaboratory. In B. G. Wilson (Ed.), Constructivist learning environments: Case studies in instructional design. Englewood cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.Google Scholar
  12. Friedman, T. L. (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the 21st century. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  13. Hung, D., & Chen, D. - T. (2002). Understanding how thriving Internet quasi-communities work: Distinguishing between learning about and learning to be. Educational Technology, 42(1), 23–27.Google Scholar
  14. Hung, D., & Chen, D. - T. (2007). Context-process authenticity in learning: Implications for identity enculturation. Educational Technology Research & Development, 55, 147–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hung, D., Chen, D. - T., & Koh, T. S. (2006). The reverse LPP process for nurturing a community of practice. Educational Media International, 43(4), 299–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hung, D., Tan, S. C., Hedberg, J., & Koh, T. S. (2006). A framework for fostering a community of practice: scaffolding learners through an evolving continuum. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 159–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Latour, B. (1987). Science in action: How to follow scientists and engineers through society. Milton Keynes, UK: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. O’Neill, D. K. (2001). Knowing when you’ve brought them in: Scientific genre knowledge and communities of practice. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 10(3), 223–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Petraglia, J. (1998). The real world on a short leash: The (mis) application of constructivism to the design of educational technology. Educational Technology Research & Development, 46(3), 53–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Preece, J. (2000). Online communities: Designing usability, supporting sociability. England: Wiley.Google Scholar
  22. Prensky, M. (2006). Don’t bother me momI’m learning! St. Paul, MN: Paragon House Publishers.Google Scholar
  23. Rheingold, H. (1994). A slice of life in my virtual community. In L. M. Harasim (Ed.), Global networks: Computers and international communication (pp. 57–80). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (2003). Knowledge building. In Encyclopedia of Education (pp. 1370–1373, 2nd ed.). New York, USA: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  25. Schlager, M., & Fusco, J. (2004). Teacher professional development, technology, and communities of practice. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for virtual communities in the service of learning (pp. 120–153). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in a learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4–14.Google Scholar
  27. Squire, K. D. (2004). Sid Meier’s Civilization III. Simulations and gaming, 35(1), 135–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Hung
    • 1
  • Kenneth Y. T. Lim
    • 1
  • Der-Thanq Victor Chen
    • 1
  • Thiam Seng Koh
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of EducationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations