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Perspectives and possibilities: Electronic interactivity and social constructivist teaching in a science, mathematics and technology teacher education program

Taylor, P., Geelan, D., Fox, B. and Herrmann, A. (1997) Perspectives and possibilities: Electronic interactivity and social constructivist teaching in a science, mathematics and technology teacher education program. In: ASCILITE 1997: What works and why, 7 - 10 December 1997, Curtin University, Perth

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Abstract

Social constructivist perspectives on learning emphasise the cognitive and social activity of learners in co-constructing their knowledge. An introductory postgraduate unit offered by Curtin University’s Science and Mathematics Education Centre, and intended for the professional development of practicing teachers, was designed in accordance with the referent of social constructivism. In collaboration with Curtin’s Teaching Learning Group, Web-based modes of communication, including e-mail and a Discussion Room, were introduced to supplement existing ‘paper and mail’ distance education materials in order to facilitate richer student-tutor and student-student social interactions. We felt that such interactions had significant potential to support the desired learning activities and outcomes of the unit: critical self-reflection on participants’ classroom practices and professional beliefs. The participants were surveyed before, during and after the unit, and two were selected for case study analysis. The results indicate that the Web-based components of the unit (a) made participants’ study of the unit more enjoyable, (b) increased their feeling of being part of a community of learners, and (c) supported them in conducting rich, thoughtful reviews of both their teaching and their learning. We also identified a number of factors that can constrain distance learners’ access to, and educational use of, electronic communications.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Conference Website: http://www.ascilite.org/conferences/perth97/papers...
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/37866
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