Developing an Online Community to Promote Engagement and Professional Learning for Pre-Service Teachers Using Social Software Tools

Catherine McLoughlin (Australian Catholic University, Australia) and Mark J.W. Lee (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 30
EISBN13: 9781609607043|DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2010010102
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To support students undertaking an initial teacher training program, a communities of practice model (Wenger, 1998) was implemented, supported by a social software-based technology framework, to enable mutual engagement, joint enterprise, and a shared repertoire. Participants formed peer-to-peer mentoring relationships, creating and sharing web log (blog) entries and voice recordings of critical incidents while on their practicum. Data from the students’ discourse was analyzed to explore issues and patterns that were indicators of a learning community. This data, together with data collected from post-practicum focus group discussions in which students reflected on the benefits of these media for peer mentoring and support, attests to the relevance and effectiveness of the adopted approach to developing a socio-professional community to support the development of pre-service teachers. The authors believe that best outcomes are achieved when activities are structured, when students are adequately trained in using the technologies, and when instructors or experts are available to scaffold reflection processes as the need arises.
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