While advances in technology have led to significant changes in business practices, parallel changes in classroom practices have occurred in fits and starts – if at all. Consider how dependent businesses have become on conference calls, emails, and videoconferences to connect people in different physical locations. Are there similar applications of technology that can be used in the classroom? If so, how do we know if these applications can positively affect classroom practice before uncritically rushing into devoting effort, money, and time on them? These questions are being considered within the context of the experiences of recent participants in two different forms of videoconferencing. In North Carolina, USA, teacher education students virtually visited classrooms around the state through participating teachers’ use of laptops and web cameras. Thus, prospective teachers were able to learn from current teachers in action and in classrooms that were quite different than those visited around our suburban university campus. Across the globe in New Zealand, postgraduate tertiary teaching students (all current academics) in Christchurch used the Access Grid - a dynamic Windows-based videoconference technology - to collaborate with colleagues in Dunedin who were taking the same course. Because all of these participants entered these experiences in dual roles as both students using the technology and teachers considering using the technology, their reflections are particularly critical and insightful about the potential challenges and opportunities in learning and teaching with videoconference technology.
|Keywords:||Videoconference, Experiential Education, Teacher Education, Professional Development|
Lecturer, University Centre for Teaching and Learning, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
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