Encouraging Ownership of Online Spaces: Support for Preservice English Teachers Through Computer-Mediated Communication
High attrition rates among new teachers are of concern to teacher educators. Support mechanisms may help teachers feel less isolated in their new profession. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) technologies can connect novice teachers in ways that are both time and place independent. Most research on asynchronous online discussions has focused on achieving formal learning goals through highly structured scaffolds for reflective thinking and cognitive presence. Less attention is being paid to how novice teachers who are already accustomed to participating in online communities turn to these online spaces for the support they need. This case study examined whether and how eight preservice teachers completing English education internships at professional development schools chose to use an asynchronous discussion forum in the absence of a tightly structured or controlled communication task. The interns chose to use the online space for just-in-time informal learning and for psychological support on complex issues that were not easy to discuss face to face. The interns regularly responded to each others’ requests, thoughts, and concerns. The authors propose that highly structured online forums are not the only way CMC can be used for teacher support, particularly now that CMC is no longer a novelty, nor should formal learning be the only purpose for providing such online spaces to novice teachers.
Scherff Lisa and Trena M. Paulus. "Encouraging Ownership of Online Spaces: Support for Preservice English Teachers Through Computer-Mediated Communication" Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education 6.4 (2006).