Scaffolding Preservice Teacher Learning through Web-Based Discussion Forums: An Examination of Online Conversations in the Reading Classroom Explorer

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Journal of Computing in Teacher Education

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Education | Online and Distance Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development


Research has offered evidence that teacher candidates are continually frustrated by what they consider to be a conflict between the ideas expressed in methods courses and the practices they see in their classroom observations and practicum experiences. In response to this problem, a hypermedia tool, Reading Classroom Explorer (RCE), was designed and developed to provide preservice teachers with video models of exemplary teaching excellence. The Web-based version of RCE allows discourse, conversation, and social interaction among teacher candidates learning about the teaching of literacy through technologies such as discussion forums, shared online papers, and a shared note-taking tool. The purpose of this research was to explore how using the RCE discussion forums affected preservice teacher learning. This article provides evidence of the benefits of facilitating such conversations by presenting findings on the increase in students’ understandings of teaching and learning after using the forums.