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Saturday, January 14 • 11:15am - 11:35am
"Creating a Virtual Community of Practice in Teacher Education"

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Teacher preparation programs develop pre-service teacher identities as practitioners, shifting students roles from candidates and into teachers, while guiding them through theory, practice, their academic studies, clinical experiences, and/or school sites (Darling-Hammond, L., 2006; Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Hughes, 2006). Pre-service teachers are often assigned higher education faculty and experienced mentor teachers to guide their development in a supportive community. These informal support groups could be developed into a community of practice, or a social learning system grounded in sociocultural theories of learning and development (Wenger, 2000). Community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) models with pre-service teachers provide known benefits for success in the teaching profession which include increased professional reflection, self-efficacy, and confidence in the classroom. Other benefits include development of collegial relationships with other educators, which allow novices to learn from experts in the community of practice (Feiman-Nemser, 2001; Grossman, Wineburg, & Woolworth, 2001; Jimenez-Silva & Olson, 2012; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Perry, Walton, & Calder, 1999).

In the CalStateTEACH online and site-supported teacher preparation program, candidates are placed with volunteer mentor teachers in elementary school sites to observe, participate and begin student teaching (CalStateTEACH, 1999). To promote further support and collaboration, CalStateTEACH will consider developing a virtual community of practice that includes interactive forums and compiled podcasts, creating opportunities for candidates, mentor teachers and faculty to connect across geographic boundaries. This session explores how this community can facilitate sharing ideas, questions, lessons and links through the digital curation of tools, including applications, websites, other resources and curriculum while providing an open forum for questions and interaction about the teaching practice. Furthermore, this session discusses how faculty and mentor teachers can attend as guest speakers, providing expertise on specific topics or they can help to facilitate the discussion by directing candidates with prompts and addressing their individual questions. Finally, this session aims to explore the progression of establishing strategies for implementation of the virtual community of practice in a teacher preparation program.


pre-service teachers, teacher preparation, virtual community of practice, geographic boundaries, digital curation


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avatar for Pam Neyman

Pam Neyman

Faculty, CalStateTEACH

avatar for Cassandra Kelley

Cassandra Kelley

Faculty, CalStateTEACH Teacher Preparation Program & National University
Educational Technology; Teacher Preparation; Professional Development Cassandra has 7 years of classroom teaching experience. She was also the School Technology Coordinator for six years, facilitating professional development in technology implementation and additionally taught "Intro... Read More →

Saturday January 14, 2017 11:15am - 11:35am PST