Peer Communication Through Blogging

Through methods coursework preservice teachers (PSTs) are introduced to experiences involving the culture and language of science teaching and learning. The goal of those courses is to supply an environment aimed toward encouraging the event of skills and knowledge appropriate to teaching science at the grade school level (Appleton, 2008; Bautista, 2011; Collett, 1977; Cote & Levine, 2002). the method involves exposure to a spread of latest experiences that emulate good teaching and therefore the use of authentic practices and historically has involved knowledge acquisition and individual orientation toward acceptable understandings of professional practices. However, contemporary advances afforded through the utilization of blogging provide new opportunities for PSTs to develop as science teachers.

Where historical practices depend on the individual’s acquisition of data through academic coursework, blogging generates opportunities for more participatory practices that value the coconstruction of data (Anderson & Justice, 2015). This affordance of social media relies upon ideas related to constructivism, a practice that’s frequently researched (Tay & Allen, 2011; Tess, 2013); yet, most published findings are focused upon grade level learning, classroom practice, and factors which will influence these practices (Savasci & Berlin, 2012), while minimal emphasis has been placed on those that are preparing to show .

Though constructivism is more commonly embraced now than within the past (Leach & Scott, 2008), little research has been conducted in situations where a robust component of the tutorial coursework is participation amongst peers that involves practices like blogging (Jaipal-Jamani & Figg, 2015). Current research reveals that PSTs blog with a competence viewed as acceptable regarding perspectives and development as beginning science teachers (Anderson et al., 2013; Anderson & Justice, 2015; Wall, Anderson, & Justice, 2014). However, posted reflections and responses that reveal growth (Harland & Wondra, 2011) involve minimal interactions amongst PSTs and infrequently produce ongoing or productive dialog representative of knowledgeable discourse (e.g., Anderson et al., 2013, Wallet al., 2014).

Theoretically, participation are often encouraged and learning can occur through interaction (Barab, 2001) and blogging (Luehmann & Borasi, 2011; Luehmann & Tinelli, 2008), as long as communication about science teaching occurs and therefore the posting of reflections and comments establishes a sort of ongoing dialog among community members (e.g., Jaipal-Jamani & Figg, 2015; Yang & Chang, 2012). Given trends for PSTs to revert back to established beliefs and expectations that minimize what they need learned through academic practices (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Bautista, 2011; Matkins & Bell, 2007), continued work is required to know and develop teacher education practices that utilize blogging to enhance teacher education.

Blogging are often viewed as disrupting traditional pedagogies (e.g., Anderson & Justice, 2015), leading to outcomes that further develop PSTs’ teacher identity. When PSTs reflect through blogging, their posts produce insights, but they’re characterized by a scarcity of interaction (e.g., Anderson et al., 2013; Wall et al., 2014). Studies have shown that the absence of response occurs (e.g., Anderson & Matkins, 2011) even when initial posts are well-written reflections on practices typically viewed nearly as good teaching (Duffy et al., 2010).

The interactions that do occur are according to the nonreflections of events or descriptions of established practices (e.g., how specific theoretical practices are used) common to reflective practices (Andersen & Matkins, 2011). Though these trends are consistently observed in larger cohorts, a chance was generated by a gaggle of three students in our study who consistently reflected on each other’s blogs. These individuals knew one another before the beginning of the methods course, so their blogs and comments were analyzed to seek out what they revealed about interactions and influences amongst individuals with established interpersonal relationships. Using ideas related to identity theory, blogging, and teacher identity, we analyzed the blogs of this unique cell of scholars throughout the methods courses, examining their blogging interactions and what they revealed about the teaching identities of the group’s members.

Science Teacher Education, Blogging, and Participatory Pedagogies

Educating students within the 21st century has necessitated a shift within the way during which PSTs are prepared to use, understand and interact within the classroom (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008). Deuze, Bruns, and Neuberger (2007) characterized this paradigmatic shift as a movement toward a participatory culture using Web 2.0 technologies—dynamic environments that are reshaping our academic landscape (Keen, 2007). PSTs in today’s classrooms are typically technology savvy and have integrated social networks into their daily lives (Windham, 2005), and with the emergence of mobile technologies, students’ access to computing devices is omnipresent (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008). Synonymous with these technological trends is a chance to develop collaborations through multiple modalities. These dynamic changes present both new sorts of challenges and vast opportunities for teacher educators.

New media, including social networking sites, have emerged as platforms for brand spanking new pedagogical approaches in teacher education coursework that answer 21st-century challenges by facilitating interaction, communication, and collaboration of educators around practice (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009; Hartshorne & Ajjan, 2009; Veletsianos, 2012; Veletsianos & Navarrete, 2012). These affordances are often connected to socioconstructivist pedagogies where PSTs are actively engaged cocreators of their own knowledge (Conole, 2010; Orehovacki, Bubas, & Konecki, 2009). However, little is yet known about the impact of those pedagogical tools, even with an expanding use of those new media in formalized learning contexts (Schroeder, Minocha, & Schneider, 2010), particularly within PST science methods classrooms.

Historical approaches to teacher education are supported instructional strategies for teaching inquiry, using laboratory environments, and developing content knowledge for science teachers (Gabel, 1994), therefore the use of blogging within these contexts is rare . While reflections and reflexive practice are encouraged during methods courses (e.g., Harland & Wondra, 2011), most are structured around an approach that doesn’t include networked communication, like that produced by blogging (Luehmann & Borasi, 2011). Methods instruction isn’t formulaic but is usually structured around a teaching cycle (Lotter, Singer, & Godley, 2009; Shulman, 1987) that gives a framework for thinking individually about the teaching of science with PSTs encouraged to clarify learning goals and objectives (Steele, Brew, Rees, & Ibrahim-Khan, 2013).

These practices include the utilization of extended field experiences (Bhattacharyya, Volk, & Lumpe, 2009; Ohana, 2004), daily or weekly exposure to authentic school environments and their agents, partnerships with established teachers (Mintzes, Marcum, Messerschmidt-Yates, & Mark, 2012; Miranda & Damico, 2013; Tillema, 2009), and lab-based practices (Watters & Ginns, 2000). The advantage of these practices is a stress on the planning and implementation of lesson plans, with the PSTs reflecting privately or through forced responses, designed to encourage the revision or integration of practices through assessment of what was attempted (Marbach-Ad & McGinnis, 2008; Smith & Southerland, 2007). this sort of pedagogy involves reflexive practices and reflection papers evaluated by a course instructor, but blogging extends the practice by providing opportunity for community authorship and peer critique of experiences (Sawmiller, 2010).

Blogging. Through blogging PSTs initiate discussions and receive responses through the reflections and comments of others. These reflections and comments are new opportunities for the PSTs’ development (Danielowich, 2012; Deng & Yuen, 2013; Wood, 2012) due to the coconstruction of data (Anderson & Justice, 2015; Lotter et al., 2009). What occurs because the PSTs interact and reflect may be a minimally researched enhancement to the PST’s development as science teachers.

While PSTs individually reflect upon meaningful experiences and develop understanding of the role of collegiality (Ohana, 2004), blogging extends experiences through interactions produced as PSTs share about their struggles with various professional practices, including planning, decision-making related to new experiences, teaching content, and pedagogy (Yang & Chang, 2012). In contrast to monologs or momentary reflections with a teacher , blogging generates new conversations and minimizes boundaries and chronological margins (Lieberman & Mace, 2009; Wolf, 2010), while also making PST perceptions of their actions and experiences available for critique.

Coupled with the PST’s desire for professional growth, blogging produces great potential (Finn, Gomez, Griesdorn, & Sherin, 2008; Galman, 2009) for the event of skills related to good teaching (Duffy, et.al., 2010: Hramiak, Boulton, & Irwin, 2009), like mutual sharing, reflection (Harland & Wondra, 2011; Wolf, 2010), and discussion centered on individual perceptions (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011).

Blogging as contextual influence. Technology is generating new communities during which people close to collaborate, learn and build knowledge (McLoughlin, 2007). This practice of mixing learning and generative tools like blogging has progressed to the purpose that its affordances got to be considered as a part of the context of teacher education. The synchronous classroom can now be extended through blogging, producing multiple sorts of support and extra opportunities to find out successfully (Puntambekar & Kolodner, 2005).

By producing new interactions amongst peers that are shaped by the contexts they occupy, prolonged influences are yielded for PST development. This new context for education can integrate the authentic and emergent uses of social media and interactive learning environments while also contributing to the advancement of theories of everyday learning that aid deeper understanding of how development occurs from a practice-oriented perspective (Hsi, 2007).

The use of digital networks may be a disruptive pedagogy altering students’ typical learning environments in several ways (Anderson & Justice, 2015). First, general trends in comments from cohort members indicate that the practice of blogging and its affordances have values that differ supported who is speaking. this concept of disruption is attributed to the very fact that social network sights are public learning spaces, while typical university pedagogy privileges learning that’s private (e.g., student-professor interactions; Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010). Our disruption requires learning publicly and is unfamiliar and disconcerting to several of the scholars who are wont to learning material and practices privately spaces and chronologies (e.g., Anderson et al., 2013). These networks found out differing patterns of interaction for the scholars , creating dynamic power relationships within the pedagogical interactions.

Second, messy learning-in-progress is privileged over academic demonstrations of data or other dominant displays of learning, as evidenced by requiring students to share their reflections and comment for and with peers. Typical academic discourse is a smaller amount valued than shared reflections, peer questioning, critical perspectives and narrative voices (Wall et al., 2014). Also, the utilization of blogging requires students to find out as a community instead of in isolation. Not only are the PSTs learning ahead of their peers, they’re required to find out from their peers. The cell group’s practices produce a replacement context that generates opportunities for learning to be situated during a participatory environment (e.g., field experiences and active discussion), which are, in turn, generated by interactions among peers (e.g., Lave & Wenger, 1991), thus giving students the chance to interact actively within the cocreation of their own knowledge (McLoughlin, 2007).

Identity and Development

The need for development involves individual recognition and choices for professional or personal growth (Koballa, Glynn, Upson, & Coleman, 2005), including the salient influences of a relevant context (Burke & Stets, 2009). the tutorial context during which this development is situated becomes important because contexts like elementary schools don’t afford the scaffolding or discourse of educational environments (La Velle, McFarlane, John, & Brawn, 2004).

Experiences within the academic environment aid PSTs as they create efforts to align their own discourses and practices (Gee, 2000; Lawler, 2008) with roles specific to teaching and learning (Anderson et al., 2013). Development involves complicated interactions generated by the social forces of membership with a discourse group, established group roles (Worchel & Coutant, 2003), individual beliefs (Bryan, 2003), personal experiences, perceptions (Burke, 2007; Forssell, 2009), and therefore the agency of PSTs inclined by these critical interactions, which produces a provisional identity that’s subjected to the favored , acceptable expectation of the immediate environment. Ideally, academic and group expectations shape the context by aligning with practices beneficial to science teaching and learning by default, making interactions beneficial (Burke & Stets, 2009).

Since science teaching identities are uncommon amongst undergraduates (Anderson et al., 2013), the scaffolding of educational environments (Ford, 2004; Habermas, 2001) is vital . While this academic context is meant for learning skills related to science teaching (Vygotsky, 1978, 1996), the PSTs must learn to navigate through domain-specific subcultures (Meier, 2012; Ohana, 2004), content knowledge discourses (Akerson, Buzzelli, & Eastwood, 2011; Howes, 2002; La Velle et al., 2004), and professional expectations and roles. Each distinct variable produces a singular influence (Burke & Stets, 2009; Nilsson & Loughran, 2011), and because the PSTs participate (Barab, Barnett, & Squire, 2009; Lave & Wenger, 1991) the interactions illuminate positionalities and insights (Brown, 2006; Cooper, 2007) which will then be exposed to the PSTs’ peers.

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