Empowering Novice Elementary Mathematics Teachers to Trust Their Beliefs in the Efficacy of Reform-Based Teaching Practices Through a Web-Based Professional Community

Dr. Lynda Colgan
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Connect-ME is a virtual community that appears to be defying the odds. Evaluations of on-line multi-user environments have shown that educative communities are difficult to create and sustain (Schlager et al., 1998). However, this study follows a group of early career mathematics teachers who continue to feel strongly connected to a particular virtual community even after five years, crediting it with not only sustaining their beliefs about contemporary cognitive teaching practices, but also translating them into action. These beginning teachers believe Connect-ME plays a key role in their ongoing professional learning and knowledge-building. Based on data collected from two focus groups, sixteen telephone interviews and an on-line survey, this paper adds to the existing explanatory models of online learning communities.

Keywords: Beginning Teachers, Community, Computer-Mediated Communication, Mathematics Education, Professional Development, Technology Uses in Education
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Lynda Colgan

Associate Professor, MSTE Group Faculty of Education, Queen's University

Lynda Colgan, has been an educator for 24 years. She has successfully fulfilled a number of roles in that time, including secondary school mathematics teacher, grade 5 classroom teacher, computer consultant, adjunct professor, mathematics coordinator, vice-principal, and now Professor of Elementary Mathematics Education. A winner of a number of professional awards, including OSSTF's Excellence in Education award for outstanding classroom teaching and the first Marshall McLuhan Award for visionary use of technology with students, Lynda is actively involved in research and assessment initiatives in these areas and continues to be an advocate of the braiding of technology and creativity into the fabric of mathematics education.

Ref: T05P0156