Prompt feedback is one of the critical components of teacher education programs. To reap the greatest benefit from the teaching practicum process, the quality of feedback as well as its implementation by stakeholders, supervisors, cooperating teachers, and teacher trainees, takes on great importance. The purpose of this study is to examine how Web 2.0 tools support a teaching practicum course at a large public university and to discuss Facebook in relation to feedback and informal learning. The use of Facebook in a university setting aims to encourage interactions among stakeholders, thus enhancing instant and appropriate feedback mechanisms and informal learning. Data were obtained by monitoring posts within a closed Facebook group and from a teacher trainee survey whereby teacher trainees indicated the ways in which they adapted to this technology. Findings indicate that teacher trainees have benefited from Facebook in receiving prompt feedback; communicating with their peers, supervisors, and cooperative teachers; sharing knowledge; collaborating with their peers; and improving their professional performance. The observed benefits of Facebook use by teacher trainees should, therefore, be an important consideration for teacher education programs in the 21st century.
Teacher training, teacher trainees, clinical supervision model, Web 2.0, Facebook, feedback, teaching practicum.
Socializing online has become an increasingly important part of college student life (Petrovic et al., 2014). The prevalence of social networking sites (SNS) use is increasing enormously both in Turkey and worldwide. As of the last quarter of 2014, over 30 million individuals in Turkey are Facebook users (i.e., indicative of a 26% penetration rate), most of whom are among the younger generation (The Statistics Portal, 2015). The younger generation communicates and establishes social relationships through SNS. A report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project (Duggan and Smith, 2013) shows that 73% of online adults use SNS and that 42% of them use multiple SNS; however, Facebook remains the dominant platform for users. The rise of Facebook’s popularity raises questions about its impact on college students (Kirschner and Karpinski, 2010; Abramson, 2011; Junco, 2011; Kamenetz, 2011; Petrovic et al., 2013; Petrovic et al., 2014) and new possibilities for using these tools in the furtherance of active and informal learning (Joly, 2007; Kassens-Noor, 2012; Petrovic et al., 2012; Petrovic et al., 2013, Baltaci Goktalay et al., 2014).
Although social media and Web 2.0 tools were not specifically designed for educational purposes, these technologies have received intense and growing educational and research interest in recent years. Web 2.0 offers new learning environments based on embedded user-driven, participative, and social networking characteristics. Web 2.0 refers to a variety of digital applications, which are mostly open source. Web 2.0 tools transform the learning context by providing multiple opportunities for shared content and resources, reflection, feedback, self-directed learning, informal learning, collaborative learning, and ubiquitous and lifelong learning (Gao et al., 2012; Reupert and Dalgarno, 2011; Glassman and Kang, 2011; McLoughlin and Lee, 2008b).
The educational potential for Web 2.0 has led to many recent studies in higher education addressing topics including social networking (Daher and Baya’a, 2013; Barczyk and Duncan, 2013; Wang et al., 2012; Junco, 2012; Baya’a and Daher, 2012; Cheung et al., 2011; Cheong, 2010; Kirschner and Karpinski, 2010; Roblyer et al, 2010), microblogging (Aydin, 2014; Munoz et al., 2014; Kassens-Noor, 2012), wikis (Hadjerrouit, 2014; Lai and Ng, 2011), and blogging (Bennett et al., 2012; Reupert and Dalgarno, 2011; Halic et al., 2010; Chuang, 2010; Hramiak et al., 2009). Despite this high level of activity, there is limited empirical evidence and few critical accounts that reveal the effectiveness of the implementation of Web 2.0 tools by teacher education programs, specifically in teaching practicum (Goktalay et al., 2014; Bennett et al, 2012).
As a free Web 2.0 tool, Facebook is the most popular SNS among university students. Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has seen a steep rise in users, especially among the younger generation. According to a Pew Research Center report (2014), 71% of young adults (ages 18-29) go online daily, and 87% of them use Facebook. Facebook has the potential to become a useful tool given its popularity and students’ familiarity with its use (Barczyk and Duncan, 2013). Because Facebook provides opportunities for users to share knowledge, write comments, and engage in peer-to-peer interaction, it can enhance learning experiences in an informal setting (Kirschner and Karpinski, 2010). This paper aims to examine how Facebook supports a teaching practicum course in terms of instant feedback and informal learning.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
This study has provided a real-world overview of the adoption of Facebook as a Web 2.0 technology in a teaching practicum course, investigating teacher trainees’ reflections on the impact of this approach from different perspectives: peer collaboration, communication benefits, feedback, and the improvement of professional performance. This study followed Pedagogy 2.0 theory while providing a rich environment in which learners could communicate with a variety of tools, receive feedback, access resources through formal and informal means, seek support from Facebook group stakeholders, and complete authentic learning tasks during the teaching practicum.
The first research question explored teacher trainees’ adoption of social networking sites. When the means of social network adoption were examined, results were in line with a study by Tanrıverdi and Sağır (2014). Teacher trainees stated that they preferred to use the Facebook group primarily because it was easy to use in terms of soliciting feedback for their lesson plans and classroom activities.
The second research question addressed teacher trainees’ reason for using social networking sites. Findings show that communicating with friends was the most frequently cited reason for using Facebook, followed by a way to spend spare time and sharing information. A similar study reports that college students primarily spend time communicating with their peers, playing games, and watching videos (Rideout et al., 2010).
The third research question examined whether Facebook accelerated communication during the teaching practicum. The findings show that the majority of participants (93%, 38) agreed that they benefited from Facebook in terms of communication with their peers, as well as cooperation with teachers and university supervisors. It was found that fast and easy communication facilitated prompt feedback and the sharing of knowledge. Teacher trainees reported that Facebook is a convenient tool for enhancing discussion. These results support the study by Barczyk and Duncan (2013), which addresses Facebook use in higher education courses.
In the fourth research question in this study, the author sought to identify the extent to which Facebook use in the teaching practicum served to facilitate the exchange of feedback between students, their peers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors. Most teacher trainees (87%) reported that they received prompt feedback from their university supervisors. This finding runs contrary to that of Roblyer et al. (2010), who found that only 6.5% of faculty members communicate with their students with regard to class activities. However, it was reported that fewer teacher trainees (73%) received feedback from cooperating teachers through Facebook. Even positive responses revealed that cooperating teachers preferred oral communication or phone calls to Facebook. The difference between university supervisors and cooperating teachers might be attributable to gender or age. University supervisors in the study were all females in their 40s while cooperating teachers were mostly males over the age of 50.
Moreover, university supervisors were more aware of the importance of giving feedback to teacher trainees than were cooperating teachers. Teacher trainees need to receive substantial feedback on both lesson plans and other classroom activities during the teaching practicum course (Caner, 2010). The need for feedback is always emphasized among education faculties. Teacher trainees also stated that they received frequent feedback from their peers through Facebook as well as through oral communication. They also responded to the fourth research question by stating that Facebook promoted peer collaboration by allowing users to easily share course plans and materials and to help each other with course-related problems. The last research question examined teacher trainees’ perceptions of the effect of Facebook on professional performance. While 80% of respondents answered to the affirmative, 20% indicated that Facebook users had not improved their professional performance.
The study revealed that teacher trainees were not using Facebook as an educational tool prior to the inception of this study. This lack of usage could be attributed to the fact that Web 2.0 technologies had not yet been sufficiently introduced into the higher education environment. By contrast, with the introduction of the FATIH project (MEB, 2012), K-12 teachers were required to be technology savvy and able to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their instruction. In addition, according to Pedagogy 2.0, Web 2.0 tools should be integrated into coursework to support knowledge sharing, enable peerto-peer networking, and facilitate greater learner autonomy (McLoughlin and Lee, 2008b).
Increased feedback for teacher trainees is an important benefit of the use of Web 2.0 tools in teacher education programs. Integrating such tools into the teaching practicum, in particular, can serve to advance the student-centered learning approach of Pedagogy 2.0. This study highlights the positive outcomes from creating an informal learning environment for teacher trainees that centers on the affordances of social networking tools to improve teaching practices.
Additional research investigating the teaching practicum is warranted, specifically studies that focus on how cooperative teachers and supervisors can benefit from using Web 2.0 tools to change their pedagogical practices to better serve teacher trainees. This study focuses solely on teacher trainees in primary education, many of whom had known each other for four years, i.e., the duration of their degree course. This familiarity may have skewed the data in favor of positive perceptions of Facebook that might not otherwise have been presented. Scholars are encouraged to replicate this study with teacher trainees in other disciplines to validate the findings discussed herein. Studies involving larger groups of teacher trainees might also provide another perspective on the building of community among teacher trainees, cooperative teachers, and supervisors who are away during the practicum and who rely on Facebook to communicate and give feedback.
The findings of this study may have important implications for teacher education programs that apply a clinical supervision model and seek to prepare teachers to teach in 21st-century classrooms. While integrating the effective use of Web 2.0 tools, teacher trainers can facilitate the transformation of their own roles as they work with teacher trainees, who in turn might adopt these tools in their K-12 classrooms.
The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.
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FULL Paper PDF file:The impact of Facebook in teaching practicum: Teacher trainees’ perspectives
The impact of Facebook in teaching practicum: Teacher trainees’ perspectives
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Professor Siavosh Kaviani was born in 1961 in Tehran. He had a professorship. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the QL University of Software Development Methodology and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Chelsea.