Creating and sustaining a regional framework for CPD and lifelong learning for Caribbean educators in the region.

I am really excited to have received this announcement! I first outline my setting then I go on to describe the proposal and later provide how Blackboard Collaborate fits into this frame. Perhaps I will add more comments as I go along.

The setting
Collaborative knowledge-building (CKB) in online social networking sites is an area of concern among educators and researchers alike. However, what does it mean to collaborate in the online social networking setting? What tools, processes and conditions mediate effective CKB in social networking settings. The focus therefore is on how social networking sites mediate the process of CKB in informal settings, as well as  on the role of design in making such knowledge-building and collaboration a sustainable activity. However, the relative lack of attention to design, points to the need for methods to guide the development of CKB environments. This proposal in this blog addresses this issue, drawing on my experience on an action research study which aimed to establish possible benefits from a framework-driven approach, given that the development of informal online social networking environments are not traditionally driven by any particular theoretical or design frameworks.

This CKB framework is foregrounded against the difficult socio-economic and geo-political challenges of the Caribbean region in establishing and sustaining an initiative for continuing professional development (CPD) and lifelong learning framework for educators in the Caribbean. In addressing this challenge, I created the Caribbean Educators Network (CEN) in 2008.  CEN operates on the technological affordances of NING social networking platform. Where both synchronous and asynchronous events and activities form part of the collaboration.

The Proposal
As a regional network the aim is to work with regional institutions, associations, agencies and governments in establishing a framework of CPD that seeks. The framework will adopt a pragmatic approach in identifying the needs of educators and draw on small group inquiry as well as large group discussions in meeting and sustaining the goals. We intend to use a number of tools to meet these goals. Blackboard Collaborate forms part of the vision.


The Role of Blackboard Collaborate.

If we were to get sponsorship of the 50 room Blackboard Collaborate Room, we will conduct the following:

-          Provide training to educators/ lecturers in the region on the use of  Blackboard Collaborate

-          Provide the support of regional agencies to conduct professional courses as part of CPD programme.

-          Conduct weekly synchronous events, sponsored by specific educational, regional interest.

-          Conduct conferences of varying interest to members of the CEN.

-          Conduct online workshops on technology enhanced learning. Eg. Using Training educators to use online tools like Blackboard collaborate, and VLEs in teaching

-          Conduct a Blackboard Collaborate Caribbean  3 minute speech competition in specific areas of interest

-          Conduct a Blackboard Collaborate Caribbean diaspora symposium. This will invite participation of a formal tertiary education nature.

-          Conduct a completion for regional educators to convert a favourite classroom lesson into a Blackboard Collaborate session.


I am confident that the use of Blackboard Collaborate as part of a regional CPD and lifelong learning initiative will go a long way in the CEN being able to meet its goal of collaborative knowledge-building in the social networking setting. My experience participating and moderating previous Blackboard Collaborate sessions provide the conviction that this is a tool that enables collaborative knowledge-building in so many varying ways.  


I will like to thank you for sponsoring this blogging event to help me to share my ideas of collaboration with others.  I will seek to review the other proposals and offer  comments.

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