This morning I had a very successful meeting with Trevor, my primary supervisor with regards to the direction of my PhD project. I was initially confused about what my final outcome would or should be from the project but I am much clearer about what that is after the meeting. The core of my project is to investigate the communities of practice that exists within schools, who makes up the community, how do they operate, how do they work, how do they communicate, what tools do they use to communicate, do these communities have an influence on the school curriculum, is there interactions or communication between the community in one school and the community in other schools around the country, what methods are used to evaluate such communities etc. My task now is to produce in an in-depth literature review into the area of these communities of practice.
I want to make the communities aware that they exist and that similar communities exist in schools all around the country. I want to make them aware of the benefits (if there are any) of communicating and interacting with them. All of this research should allow me to develop a needs analysis which will produce the design requirement and design criteria need to build the tool that will be developed to support the community in the school, the ecosystem of communities which will in turn support student learning and the teacher-student relationship in the school.
I will develop an approach for learning about these communities and I will develop the best methods for collecting data about them. I want to understand remote communities of practice and develop a way in which these remote communities can communicate with each other.
I will research the current software programmes/platforms available that are used for communication and I will familiar myself with programming languages that I may use in the future.
I will also look at relevant conferences to discover papers and workshops that may be useful for me including the Communities and Technology Conference, CSCW (Computer Supported Collaborative work) and ECSCW.