A Study of Preservice Science Teachers' Interactions with a Web-Based Forum
Keywords: Science, Education, Web-based
AbstractIn order to examine the potential benefits and existing barriers of preservice science teachers engaging in an electronic professional community on the World Wide Web, we have constructed a "Web Forum" called the SciTeach forum. A survey was given to each of our 22 preservice science teachers at the end of their student teaching semester to identify the barriers they encounter when using a "Web-based forum" on the Internet during their student teaching experience. Our results indicate that the predominant barriers that preservice science teachers encounter when using the SciTeach forum appear to be a lack of adequate access to a networked computer and structuring time to engage in the web forum dialogue. Our preliminary findings also suggest that by using telecommunications with a "Web forum" structure, preservice science teachers can provide each other with socioemotional support. Much variance exists with regard to our students teachers' attitudes perceptions of their experiences with interacting with the SciTeach forum. This variance might be attributed to learning styles, personality characteristics, or the students' comfort level and previous experience using telecommunications technology. Although there are barriers to overcome, a "Web-based" forum appears to be effective instrument to provide support to a cohort group of preservice science teachers during their student teaching semester.
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