Preservice teachers’ perceptions of instant messaging in two educational contexts
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SubjectInstant messaging; Middle school students; Teachers and community; Communication in community development
Using an activity theory framework, we investigate how preservice teachers and middle school students utilized instant messaging in educational contexts, and the impact of instant messaging on the development of community among preservice teachers. Qualitative results from six focus groups and two personal interviews indicate that instant messaging enhanced the development of community among the preservice teachers and facilitated the breakdown of teacher-student social barriers while being predominantly exploited as a social rather than an academic medium. The instant messaging assignment consisted of three overlapping activity systems that complicated the assignment and created some degree of tension for the teachers. Even though preservice teachers felt uncomfortable being at a peer to peer level with students, instant messaging enabled them to build an activity system that can be characterized as a multifaceted learning and knowledge-based community.
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