Networking online: Re-thinking collaboration and community in the age of information

Volume 1, Number 2 - May 2007

Editoral

The potential of cyberspace, the virtual world, the web, to map out new spaces for dwelling in communities is well developed, reflecting just one of the perceived benefits of the Internet for online education generally and, in particular, for teacher education. Teacher education programmes can provide, through the enhanced opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous connections between students from diverse backgrounds and contexts, an invigorated sense of critical community. Such potential for community can underpin a philosophy of difference in a paradigm of multicultural teacher education. The development of collaborative learning networks aligns closely with the notions of quality teaching, and the professional teacher, underpinned by themes of constructivism and reflective practice.

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Peer-reviewed Papers

This paper describes how online video conferencing sessions offered through the Internet can promote college students’ construction of knowledge. Our goal in writing this paper is to explain the processes involved in utilizing a Technology-Enhanced Teaching method from three different points of view: an instructor, student, and presenter. Multiple perspectives of those involved in the sessions can contribute to better understanding of Technology-Enhanced Teaching methods and serve as a source of information for others who are interested in offering online video conferencing sessions.

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In support of international research defining ‘quality’ in online teaching through the development of benchmarks, standards or guidelines, this paper discusses how five principles that underpin the New Zealand e-Learning guidelines could inform and support institutions and teachers in the development of a quality online curriculum. Emphasis is given to what the five principles could mean for tertiary educators and institutions along with some educational implications for learners.

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The incorporation of information and communication technologies transforms the time and space in education. These technologies permit the creation of virtual learning environments which can be utilized using a wide range of educational methodologies. We find ourselves using e-learning practices related to not only processes of information transmission but also collaborative knowledge building. The majority of research shows that the success of virtual learning environments depends a great deal upon the role the professor or teacher assumes in the course. In these environments, the teacher’s role changes notably and becomes a determining aspect in the realization of successful educational activities. The principal objective of this article is to highlight some of the aspects related to the basic competencies that are used in virtual learning environments, aspects that need to be considered in relation to the student’s formative training as a teacher-trainee.

Student Voices

I am from Japan. I came to New Zealand in April 2004 to study English and early childhood education. I studied in a language school for the first 10 months and then applied for my current school, New Zealand Tertiary College, to focus on studying early childhood education. I began studying as a college-based student, with day-time, face-to-face classes. After the first semester, I changed my course to the distance learning program, and since then I have been working in an early childhood centre as a reliever as part of my diploma program.

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Throughout the last decade, the numbers of Chinese immigrant and Chinese international student teachers engaged in studying Early Childhood Teacher Education distance learning courses have increased. These student teachers should have the required knowledge and skills to teach in New Zealand, and may need new cultural knowledge that is specific to the local education system. Furthermore, it is assumed that they will have sound technology skills and possess good study ethics.

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Contributors

Satomi Izumi-Taylor, Dorothy J. Sluss, Sandra Brown Turner, Julie Whittaker, Begoña Gros, Juan Silva, Melanie Wong

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