education, Problem-Based Learning, curriculum development, computer mediated communications, CMC
Computer Sciences | Teacher Education and Professional Development
This study explored the professional development experiences of 28 practicing teachers in 10 Chicago suburban schools involved in a two-year technology supported Problem-Based Learning curriculum development effort. Asynchronous computer-mediated communications (CMC) were featured as teacher communication tools of the project. The computer-mediated discourse produced by the teachers was compared with the discourse produced by teachers in face-to-face meetings. Research methods including discourse analysis and archival data analysis were applied to determine the nature of the teacher discourse and its reflective content. The results show that while the computer-mediated teacher dialogue was less interactive, it was significantly more reflective (t=4.14, p=.001) than face-to-face discourse. The study findings suggest that the value of CMC lies in its ability to facilitate professional collaboration between teachers and encourage critical reflection on educational policy and practice. 284 Hawkes and Romiszowski Computer-mediated communication (CMC) presents teachers with new opportunities for communication. Though the use of CMC suggests more convenient access to professional colleagues, it does not ensure professional growth and learning experiences. The purpose of this study was to determine if and how critical reflection—as a meaningful professional development objective—arises from computer-mediated collaborative dialogue. This research begins by examining the role of collaboration and dialogue in teacher learning. Applications of CMC for teacher development are reviewed followed by a description of the study context. The results of the research are presented followed by a discussion of network technology’s capacity for facilitating new conceptions of in-service teacher development, and engaging professionals in an analysis of practice that is both contextually relevant and informed by the experiences of peers.
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