School Teachers’ Use of an Electronic Discussion Group
This chapter focuses on one emerging aspect of teachers’ use of information and communication technology given increasing prominence by the government – the use of computer mediated communication as a means of ‘sharing good practice’ and forming collaborative networks of collegial interaction. It examines how teacher discussion groups are ‘working out’ in practice. The vast majority of on-line teacher forums take the form of discussion groups, mail-lists or bulletin boards. One of the most important functions of real-life shared educational arenas is a means for teachers to engage in a form of ‘collective stocktaking’ on the pupils and classes that they will face in the school. The exchanging of information was by no means the sole form of interaction which the Forum was used for. Another use involved teachers swapping experiences and comparing personal situations. Thus, gaining a sense or orientation of ‘professional self also appeared as an important use of the Forum for many of its users.