Growth of teacher knowledge: The promise of CSCL

Year: 2004

Author: McDougall, Matt, Nason, Rod, McRobbie, Campbell

Type of paper: Refereed paper

To ensure that universities meet the needs of their learners more completely, teaching and learning strategies should be adopted to make educational provision more flexible. This study investigated how a lesson-planning task within the context of a computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environment facilitated the growth of teacher knowledge, specifically the subject-matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge about the teaching of ratios and fractions. This study used a CSCL environment called Knowledge Forum(r) with a cohort of preservice teachers collaborating in a lesson planning task. The social interaction within the computer-mediated community in this study contributed to the growth of teacher knowledge by providing a new social context for learning that prompted students to articulate their ideas and make ideas visible for peer inspection. Through peer-to-peer interactions like asking questions, requesting clarification, revising interpretations, or elaborating ideas, the students learnt both the limits and utility of different models to explain mathematical notions. These on-line social interactions supported knowledge integration by helping to broaden students' initial repertoire of instructional representations and mathematical constructs, demonstrating personal utility for particular ideas, and encouraging students to refine their understanding of mathematics.

Key Words: Pre-service teacher education programs, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, Lesson planning