Creating Virtual Collaborative Learning Experiences for Aspiring Teachers

Creating Virtual Collaborative Learning Experiences for Aspiring Teachers

David M. Dunaway (University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1906-7.ch009
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Abstract

Finding time for reflection and collaboration presents challenges for teachers. Combined with this are feelings of isolation from colleagues. Web 2.0 tools can assist in alleviating these difficulties for teachers. This chapter discusses the potential of Web 2.0 tools, the development and uses of these tools, and considerations to make when using Web 2.0 tools. The chapter also presents ways colleges of education can support reflection and collaboration while diminishing feelings of isolation. The experiences of one instructor in implementing Web 2.0 strategies in Master’s of School Administration classes are shared throughout the chapter to support the rationale for utilization of Web 2.0 tools.
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A Not-So-Obvious Solution For Isolation, Collaboration, And Reflection

Like Elmore (2000), others, both in and outside of education have echoed the issues associated with professionals working in isolation. According to Bridgstock, Dawson, and Hearn (2011),

“[M]ost theorists now agree that while individual skills and knowledge, and traits like personality and intelligence, are important foundations for innovation, in actuality innovation thrives on social interaction and collaborative efforts. It involves the active combination of people, knowledge, and resources” (p. 105).

Schmoker (2006) wrote that the typical school functions as a group of private freelancers united by the school parking lot. Michael Fullan (2001), in Leading in a Culture of Change, writes of the importance of social learning or learning in context. “Learning in the setting where you work, or learning in context, is the learning with the greatest payoff because it is more specific (customized to the situation) and because it is social (involves a group)” (p.136).

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