Variables of Interest in Exploring the Reflective Outcomes of Network-Based Communication

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Journal of Research on Computing in Education

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This study explores the opportunities presented by network-based communication to facilitate collaborative critical reflection between teachers. The study took place with 28 elementary and middle school teachers in 10 suburban Chicago schools. These teachers were involved in a two-year technology supported problem-based learning curriculum development effort. Asynchronous network-based communications were featured as teacher communication tools of the project, with the discourse produced by the teachers as the primary data source. The evidence showed that collaboratively produced network-based communication was significantly more reflective than face-to-face discourse between teachers. Face-to-face teacher meetings were highly task structured, while the electronic network was the medium of choice for discussing cause and effect and other contextual factors associated with curriculum development. Several variables, including teacher time, discourse focus, participant composition, and self-efficacy are discussed as influences on network-facilitated reflective conversation.