Source: American Academic & Scholarly Research Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, March 2012
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has touched and influenced every aspect of human life including education. Google group, one of the applications of ICT and web 2.0 tools seems to be easy to apply in the field of education in general and pre-service teacher education in particular.
Therefore, the researcher was interested to examine how to apply Google groups, how learners can participate, what are the benefits of using Google group, in pre-service teacher training.
The study has the following objectives:
1. To orient pre-service teachers to use Google group.
2. To motivate learners to actively participate in the Google group activities.
3. To observe activities of the learners on Google group.
4. To analyze the activities on Google group and infer about the democratic and professional qualities among learners.
5. To discuss the problems faced by the learners during the entire pursual.
The study addressed to the following research questions:
1. How Google group can be applied in the pre-service teacher training?
2. How learners participate in various ways using Google group?
3. Whether democratic values are developed among learners while using Google group? If yes, what sort of democratic values are developed?
4. Whether professional qualities are developed among learners while using Google group? What professional qualities can be developed using Google group?
5. What problems do learners face while using Google group? In other sense, what aspects must be taken care of from learners‟ point of view in order to apply Google group in more efficient way in teaching-learning process?
Students studying under Bachelor of Education programme of University of Delhi were observed as the sample.
The author used three tools and techniques to collect data: Observation and content analysis, Discourse and discourse analysis, and Structured group interview and anecdotes.
The findings of the study can be listed as:
1. Google group can be effectively applied in the pre-service teacher training after proper orientation to the learners. There were learners which were not computer savvy but, after orienting, specifically, for the process of creating Google account and using Google groups, they applied in an appreciative manner various activities on Google group.
2. Learners participate in various ways using Google group through discussing topics, sharing information, collaborating in projects, submitting the assignments, raising issues, debating over a point, and planning for activities.
3. Various democratic values were developed among learners while using Google group like freedom to express, respect for others‟ views, co-operation, collaboration, appraising individual freedom.
4. Various professional qualities were developed among learners while using Google group like skills for using internet, learning technicalities of discussion, rationalizing the thinking, debating over an issue, arguing academically.
5. Learners face various problems while using Google group like unavailability of computers, overburdened time schedule, medium of writing and reluctance towards using new technology.
Google group is a very important web 2.0 tool which can be used effectively and that too with ease in pre-service teacher training. The Google group has several educational implications. 1. Google group should be used in pre-service teacher training for effective communication and interaction.
2. Teachers, who wish to provide a temporal-free and spatial-free interactive environment to pre-service teachers should use Google group.
3. Democratic values can be inculcated among teachers using Google group.
4. Professional values can be developed among teachers using Google group.
5. Availability of computer systems and availability of internet connection are some of the major problems, which should be dealt efficiently in advance to use Google group for providing better learning platform.