2016 ATEA presentation on TeachConnect (www.teachconnect.edu.au) about how to design an online platform of teachers. More details at www.nickkellyresearch.com and references included.
What are beginning teachers looking for online? The TeachConnect story (and what can be learnt from it).
TeachConnect is a platform to support pre-service secondary maths and science teachers through their professional experience and into the profession. It has been developed over four years as a design-based research project and now has over 500 users across Queensland.
This presentation aims to share everything that we have discovered during this journey. It contributes a discussion of :
- the unrealised potential for online support for pre-service and early career teachers (to augment rather than replace existing support)
- the design principles for online communities of teachers that have been developed through analysis of existing platforms and multiple iterations of TeachConnect development with input from participants
- the design of the engagement strategy for involving all stakeholders within the state education system, with a particular focus upon the development of the online group and peer mentoring program
- real-world impacts and discussion of future steps
Finally, the presentation describes how the open-source platform could be used in other states. The work can be understood as a contribution to the vision of an online platform that is as useful as possible for pre-service and early career teachers. In summary, we believe this will continue to be achieved through: (i) widespread collaboration between universities, government and accreditation bodies; (ii) ongoing participant-led design and redesign; and (iii) convergence, for maximising benefits of a large community whilst retaining the benefits of enclosed spaces where deep reflection can occur.
2016 ATEA presentation - what are beginning teachers looking for online?
What are beginning teachers
looking for online?
The TeachConnect story
(and what can be learnt from it)
Nick Kelly and Steven Kickbusch
Queensland University of Technology
Online teacher support
What would a utopia of online support for teachers
• A national profession
• The potential of connectedness
• Asking teachers (participation)
• Independent, focussed, inclusive
• Elements of the vision
• StackExchange, Quora
• AirBnB, Uber
What is TeachConnect?
Online support for teachers
• Broad stakeholders / diverse participants
Knowledge – professional, searchable, growing
Mentorship – peer, one to one
Live Chat – events, synchronous, stored
Evidence - APST
• Design-Based Research
• Participation of teachers and teacher educators
• Four years
• Consultation, research, productive failure, authentic
• (Collins, Joseph, & Bielaczyc, 2004)
1. Theoretical foundations
2. Phases of design
Theory, survey, TeachQA, TeachConnect, Iterations
3. Outcomes from each phase
4. Overall lessons learned
Is TeachConnect a success (yet)?
• We’re working on it
• Usage data
• Initial experience
• Frequency of returning
• Quality of content
• Sense of belonging
• Social, affective, cognitive presence
• Mentorship training
• Working closely with groups
• Creating social norms in platform
Recipe for online teacher support
• Support of key stakeholders across systems
• Accreditation body (QCT, BOSTES, Registration Board, VIT, TQI,
• Work with universities
• Breadth of relationships – inclusivity
• Depth – embed in courses
• Work with everybody
• Schools, school system, existing groups, government,
• Find mutual benefit everywhere
• National, international
• Looking for champions
• AITSL, Government
• Does anybody know how to do this?!?
• Sharing design principles
• Independent, focussed
• Breadth & depth of stakeholders
• Low threshold for participant involvement
• Integrated into the profession
• Focus on altruism and mutual benefit
• Wide community with trust for reflection
One of the things I've found is that if any one of a group of
people with similar problems asks a question there's a good
chance that the question will reflect some of the thinking of
Paulo Freire & Myles Horton (1990)
We Make the Road by Walking
Recent Australian references
Designing online networks for teachers
• Clarà, M., Kelly, N., Mauri, T., & Danaher, P. (2015). Can massive communities of teachers
facilitate collaborative reflection? Fractal design as a possible answer. Asia-Pacific Journal of
Teacher Education, 1-13.
• Herrington, A., Herrington, J., Kervin, L., & Ferry, B. (2006). The design of an online community of
practice for beginning teachers. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 6(1),
• Kelly, N., & Antonio, A. (2016). Teacher peer support in social network sites. Teaching and
Teacher Education, 56, 138-149.
• Kelly, N., Clará, M., Kehrwald, B., & Danaher, P. (In press). Online Learning Networks for Pre-
service and Early Career Teachers. UK: Palgrave Pivot.
• Mansfield, C. F., Beltman, S., Broadley, T., & Weatherby-Fell, N. (2016). Building resilience in
teacher education: An evidence informed framework. Teaching and Teacher Education, 54, 77-
• Prestridge, S. (2016). Conceptualising self-generating online teacher professional development.
Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 1-20.
• Redmond, P. (2015). Discipline specific online mentoring for secondary pre-service teachers.
Computers & Education, 90, 95-104.
• Sari, E., & Herrington, J. (2013). Using design-based research to investigate the design and
development of an online community of practice for teacher professional development.