A model for the creation of cooperative e-learning spaces: Teaching early childhood and primary preservice teachers how to teach science

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Abstract

In this article, we describe how we have translated our face-to-face teaching of a science curriculum subject in to an e-learning environment that provides preservice early childhood and primary teachers with opportunities to practise how they would program for, and teach, science in a school setting. Many of the preservice teachers who enter our subject possess negative attitudes toward science, display low personal science teaching efficacy and lack confidence in the subject area. In an attempt to combat these issues, and to conceptualise our practice in an e-learning setting, we situate our preservice teachers in an online, cooperative learning environment in which they engage with the learning experiences that directly feed in to the assessment tasks. Through asynchronous and synchronous interactions with the teaching-team and each other, they begin to develop their confidence and competence in the teaching of science. We present a model for the creation of cooperative e-learning spaces. The strategies and approaches we implement may also be useful in the professional learning of in-service teachers, other practice-based professions and, in the orientation of students to university.

In this exemplar, we draw on our experiences in two implementations of the subject to illustrate how we use the online tools afforded to us to generate a practice-based approach to the learning and teaching of science. We outline the action-research we are undertaking to inform the future implementation and iterations of the subject, identify the issues confronted, and, share our preservice teachers’ experiences in the subject based on the questionnaire, reflection and evaluation data we have collected. In the discussion, we consider the changes to both the subject design and e-learning environment that can be made based on the evidence collected from the action research. Broader implications for online tertiary education and future research are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalFusion Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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