From the Salon to the Agora:Using Online Social Networks to  Foster Preservice Teachers’  Membership in a Networked     Co...
What would happen    in our methods class      if we transferred our reflective discussionsfrom internal message boards   ...
Coming Soon!!!• Using Online Social Networks to Foster  Preservice Teachers’ Membership in a  Networked Community of  Prax...
Who are we?• Meira Levinson, professor, Social Studies  Methods in Harvard Teacher Education  Program• William Johnston, t...
What theory motivates our research?• Communities of Praxis  – Riff on Wegner (1988)  – The virtuous interplay of reflectio...
What technology innovations motivate           our research?
Research Questions• Is a professional online network such as  the NCSS Ning a conducive environment  for preservice teache...
Methods• Design Research (September ‗09)  – Enroll 22 students in Ning  – Require contributions to discussions• Ning Conte...
Assignment• ―[One week during the semester], you are also responsible for  posting one praxis question…Please note that th...
Findings: Ning Participation• 22 students created 24 different threads, and contributed  to 2 threads initiated by other f...
Findings: Ning Discussions• Successful Praxis-Oriented Discussions:  – Is Video Necessary in the Classroom?  – Is Teaching...
In part, I agree with the importance of incorporating video   into the classroom both to prepare students for the   demand...
Findings: Ning Discussions• Students did  – Engage practitioners and other students  – Craft comments that addressed both ...
Findings: Interviews• Students expressed strong support for  collaborative praxis in teaching• Students rarely brought up ...
• There were some serious puzzles I was trying to figure  out. And I actually got some useful feedback from people  in the...
• But we also had our advisory group, our co-  teachers, the other interns at methods class, all  of these other people ar...
Conclusions• For Teacher Educators  – Seriously consider moving discussions to    public online forums in dialogue with ot...
Epilogue1. Connections disrupts the Ning2. TEP restructures and Meira stops   teaching methods3. But people are still post...
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From Salon to Agora

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From the Salon to the Agora: Using Online Social Networks to Foster Preservice Teachers’ Membership in a Networked Community of Praxis. Justin Reich, Meira Levinson, and William Johnston; Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

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From Salon to Agora

  1. 1. From the Salon to the Agora:Using Online Social Networks to Foster Preservice Teachers’ Membership in a Networked Community of Praxis Justin Reich, Meira Levinson, William Johnston Graduate School of Education Harvard University
  2. 2. What would happen in our methods class if we transferred our reflective discussionsfrom internal message boards onto a social networkfor practicing SS teachers?
  3. 3. Coming Soon!!!• Using Online Social Networks to Foster Preservice Teachers’ Membership in a Networked Community of Praxis, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education: Social Studies, December 2011
  4. 4. Who are we?• Meira Levinson, professor, Social Studies Methods in Harvard Teacher Education Program• William Johnston, teaching fellow• Justin Reich, former teaching fellow, project researcher
  5. 5. What theory motivates our research?• Communities of Praxis – Riff on Wegner (1988) – The virtuous interplay of reflection and action in effective educational practice in a collaborative setting – PLCs, PLNs, Co-Teaching, Critical Friends, Looking at Student Work, Advisory Groups, Practicum Mentor
  6. 6. What technology innovations motivate our research?
  7. 7. Research Questions• Is a professional online network such as the NCSS Ning a conducive environment for preservice teachers to develop an orientation toward praxis?• Do preservice teachers who are required to participate in an online, networked community of praxis in their chosen discipline value and express an intent to seek such opportunities in the future?
  8. 8. Methods• Design Research (September ‗09) – Enroll 22 students in Ning – Require contributions to discussions• Ning Content Analysis (December ‗09) – Quantify contributors/contributions – Evaluate quality/qualities of posts (emic)• Student Interviews (May ‗10) – 9 students interviewed (not by prof.) – Reflect on value of Ning and intent to participate in communities of praxis
  9. 9. Assignment• ―[One week during the semester], you are also responsible for posting one praxis question…Please note that this is a praxis— not ‗practice‘—question. Why do we make this distinction? We do so because praxis, by definition, is the act of reflective, theoretically- minded practice. Since this concept is fundamental to good teaching, we feel that it is important to return to it consistently throughout the course. In addition, we can benefit by sharing our praxis-related questions, ideas, struggles, and breakthroughs with a larger teaching community, as can be found on the NCSS network. This praxis question should be a true combination of theory and practice, rooted in the course readings as well as your teaching experiences, but not leaning too much one way.‖• In addition to this one-time requirement, students were asked to initiate a discussion thread or respond to someone else’s post on the Ning every other week during the semester, but we did not enforce or regularly remind students of these requirements.
  10. 10. Findings: Ning Participation• 22 students created 24 different threads, and contributed to 2 threads initiated by other forum members – 114 responses – Responses/thread ranged from 0-18 (now 0-31)• These responses came from a variety of sources. – Students in the methods course: 46 – Course instructional team:16 – 24 responses from 16 practicing educators from 9 different U.S. states and 3 foreign countries. – 9 responses came from 7 professionals in the field who were not teachers. – 19 responses came from 13 preservice teachers enrolled at the University of Florida, – http://nccsnetwork.ning.com
  11. 11. Findings: Ning Discussions• Successful Praxis-Oriented Discussions: – Is Video Necessary in the Classroom? – Is Teaching History About Forming Identity? – How to Develop Self-Advocates? – Classroom Management vs. Relationship Building- A Necessary Dichotomy.
  12. 12. In part, I agree with the importance of incorporating video into the classroom both to prepare students for the demands of the 21st century and to use critical analysis to study primary sources (or, as Susan suggests, biases and ideologies presented in documentaries). On the other hand, I wonder if something is lost in relying heavily on video—even if it is a video that allows for critical thought and analysis. As much as I love the context that video can create or elaborate on and the immediacy and seeming relevance of watching a film, I want to say that there is something important in touching documents, in creating narratives and imagines through the imagination, in using different media—media that has weight and heft— to round out a historical picture. Generally, I do think there is an importance to that.
  13. 13. Findings: Ning Discussions• Students did – Engage practitioners and other students – Craft comments that addressed both normative issues/theory and practical nuts and bolts– praxis!• Students did not – Describe specific situations, lessons, students, contexts – Do more than was expected – Participate beyond the semester
  14. 14. Findings: Interviews• Students expressed strong support for collaborative praxis in teaching• Students rarely brought up the Ning when asked about collaborative opportunities• When asked specifically about the Ning, some students found it helpful, most found it to be ―one more thing‖
  15. 15. • There were some serious puzzles I was trying to figure out. And I actually got some useful feedback from people in the class and other folks that were just on, I think it was the World History group. So that was cool that people actually read it and responded to it thoughtfully and some of those people had to out of compliance….At times it sort of felt like one more thing. But I think that was equally balanced by a handful of times where I thought it was pretty neat that either I was able to respond to someone or I could say something that meant, like I said was important to me and people were responding to it. It was a real convenient piece of technology to use.
  16. 16. • But we also had our advisory group, our co- teachers, the other interns at methods class, all of these other people around us that we knew that we could kind of get immediate feedback from. And they knew us, and knew where we were coming from. So after a while it seemed a little…although it was helpful, it started feeling a little artificial and having to post to a website. Getting advice from other experienced teachers and getting a lot of opinions, when Im already getting a lot of opinions, a lot of ideas. So I didnt feel like I had that need, especially when we had so many other things going on to do.
  17. 17. Conclusions• For Teacher Educators – Seriously consider moving discussions to public online forums in dialogue with other educators and pre-service teachers • ncssnetwork.ning.com, #sschat – Online discussions need to be integral parts of the face to face aspects of the course with active instructor facilitation• For Researchers – Longitudinal studies on impact
  18. 18. Epilogue1. Connections disrupts the Ning2. TEP restructures and Meira stops teaching methods3. But people are still posting to students‘ questions… everyone wants to talk about video in the classroom

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