Transfer of learning across the globe : pre-service teachers taking the initiative

Kidman, Gillian C., Lanning, Andrew, Sercombe, Peter, Brunner, Amy, & Fonash, Stephen (2008) Transfer of learning across the globe : pre-service teachers taking the initiative. In Proceedings of : ATEA 2008 : Teacher Educators at Work: What works and where is the evidence?, Australian Teacher Education Association, Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia.

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A continuing challenge for pre-service teacher education is the learning transfer between the university based components and the practical school based components of their training. It is not clear how easily pre-service teachers can transfer university learnings into ‘in school’ practice. Similarly, it is not clear how easily knowledge learned in the school context can be disembedded from this particular context and understood more generally by the pre-service teacher. This paper examines the effect of a community of practice formed specifically to explore learning transfer via collaboration and professional enquiry, in ‘real time’, across the globe. “Activity Theory” (Engestrom, 1999) provided the theoretical framework through which the cognitive, physical and social processes involved could be understood. For the study, three activity systems formed community of practice network. The first activity system involved pre-service teachers at a large university in Queensland, Australia. The second activity system was introduced by the pre-service teachers and involved Year 12 students and teachers at a private secondary school also in Queensland, Australia. The third activity system involved university staff engineers at a large university in Pennsylvania, USA. The common object among the three activity systems was to explore the principles and applications of nanotechnology. The participants in the two Queensland activity systems, controlled laboratory equipment (a high powered Atomic Force Microscope – CPII) in Pennsylvania, USA, with the aim of investigating surface topography and the properties of nano particles. The pre-service teachers were to develop their remote ‘real time’ experience into school classroom tasks, implement these tasks, and later report their findings to other pre-service teachers in the university activity system. As an extension to the project, the pre-service teachers were invited to co-author papers relating to the project. Data were collected from (a) reflective journals; (b) participant field notes – a pre-service teacher initiative; (c) surveys – a pre-service teacher initiative; (d) lesson reflections and digital recordings – a pre-service teacher initiative; and (e) interviews with participants. The findings are reported in terms of the major themes: boundary crossing, the philosophy of teaching, and professional relationships The findings have implications for teacher education. The researchers feel that deliberate planning for networking between activity systems may well be a solution to the apparent theory/practice gap. Proximity of activity systems need not be a hindering issue.

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ID Code: 28908
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Activity theory, Nanotechnology, Pre-service teachers, Physics
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Teacher Education & Leadership
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 please contact the authors
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2009 23:52
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 08:10

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