Source: Journal of Research on Technology in Education, Vol. 44, No. 3, p. 243-265. 2012
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The present paper examines a collaborative study that two teacher educators conducted across two sites.
The participants were 16 teacher candidates, enrolled in their programs’ required literacy course at southern university and at the northern university.
The researchers designed the wiki to support teacher candidates’ critical thinking about learner characteristics; community, classroom, and school factors; and pedagogical content necessary to support elementary school students’ literacy development.
Data included the teacher candidates’ wiki postings and final evaluations of the degree to which the wiki promoted their understanding of their experiences.
Results show that peer collaboration on wiki exchanges supported collaboration and critical thinking about student characteristics and instructional pedagogy.
Candidates indicated that they were pleased to discover the responsiveness and engagement levels among their K–4 students.
The wiki posts indicated that the wiki supported candidates in considering the developmental needs of students; students’ diverse approaches to learning; and students’ existing skills, abilities, and prior knowledge.
The wiki also supported candidates in considering their pedagogical practices in relation to their students’ levels of literacy development.
Candidates’ willingness to embrace both technology and constructivist approaches to teaching literacy also were positive.
The wiki did not support candidates’ critical thinking in regard to the impact of community, classroom, and school factors, such as culture, geography, race, ethnicity, or language. Candidates clearly needed more explicit guidance in exploring these topics.
Finally, the wiki structure also promoted collaboration and allowed candidates’ grassroots analyses of their experiences.
Candidates appreciated the chances to engage in a process approach to learning that allowed them to see, comment on, and receive feedback on their work throughout the project. However, candidates’ comments also indicate the teacher candidates’ sensitivity to giving and receiving peer feedback.
The candidates also saw the work of collaboration to be “extra” work and not part of the overall process.
Again, candidates clearly need explicit support in giving and receiving constructive feedback as part of the collaborative process, and they need guidance in seeing collaboration as a part of their work and as a positive and desired disposition for their field.