ClassNet: A potential computer-mediated communications learning tool in preservice teacher education?
Mark Jay Van Gorp, Iowa State University, United States
Iowa State University . Awarded
This study investigates computer-mediated communications (CMC) in preservice teacher education. Three papers respectively examine current CMC uses and outcomes, describe a new CMC tool which may enhance future use, and present an evaluation of that tool with preservice teachers.
The first paper reviews the utilization of CMC in the preservice curriculum and then analyzes occurring problems and assesses resulting needs. The problems are divided into two broad categories: Those that may dissipate with improvement of existing CMC technology and those that may persist even with improved technology. A study of these problems reveals that learning from CMC integration must be more closely investigated and that additional CMC tools must be created to support new and potentially valuable learning experiences. One such tool, ClassNet, is described, and its supported learning opportunities are illustrated.
The second paper explains in detail the nature of ClassNet. This paper begins by discussing the emerging problem of virtual classroom management and introduces ClassNet as a plausible solution to that problem. Then, a description of ClassNet's use is given from both an instructor's and a student's perspective and assignment concepts are discussed. In closing, the paper provides concrete examples of ClassNet's use in various subject domains and summarizes ClassNet's features and future prospects.
Finally, the third paper presents a qualitative evaluation of a ClassNet feature used with preservice teachers. This feature allows teachers to analyze and guide student interactions (protocols) with Java simulations. Subsequently, its value was explored in a virtual partnership of preservice teachers and distant eighth grade students joined by an online mathematics graphing simulation. Primary themes showed that preservice teachers valued the experience, constructed knowledge of student thinking, and experienced instruction central to mathematics reform. Overall, the feature is considered feasible to use in situations where a few preservice teachers are closely monitored by supervising teachers, but its utilization in a large preservice classroom is questioned. Future research includes a need to investigate different participants, different settings, and different simulations. Additionally, the development and evaluation of a synchronous component is needed, and the design of additional protocol exploration activities is advocated.
Van Gorp, M.J. ClassNet: A potential computer-mediated communications learning tool in preservice teacher education?. Ph.D. thesis, Iowa State University.
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Jean Ann Foley & Gretchen McAllister, Northern Arizona University, United States
AACE Journal Vol. 13, No. 2 (April 2005) pp. 159–177
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