Using information and communication technologies in a teacher education internship.

Year: 2000

Author: MAYER, D

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Traditional practicum experiences in preservice teacher education are often characterised by disconnection. Preservice teachers are disconnected from university faculty and coursework, as well as from their peers. The university-based supervisor attempts to bridge the two contexts of preservice teacher education (schools and universities) and facilitate the learning to teach processes of preservice teachers. Traditionally they have done this during visits to schools while preservice teachers are completing practicum experiences, a situation which places high importance on the value of face to face communication. This is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain amidst the prevailing climate of fiscal restraint.

It is within this context that this paper explores the possibilities of using information and communication technologies (ICT) in the practicum component of preservice teacher education. It draws on research conducted at an Australian university which investigated the use of electronic bulletin board discussion groups by preservice teachers and university lecturers while the preservice teachers were completing an internship towards the end of their teacher preparation program. The paper discusses the benefits and challenges as reported by the participants in interviews, draws on the actual text of the electronic communication, and analyses the findings in relation to the current literature on supervision in the practicum and facilitating learning to teach in preservice teacher education.