The nature of conversation in online community environments for science teachers
Abstract: Conversations are the central component of making online environments collaborative places where ideas are developed and shared. Yet, many teachers fail to fully or productively participate in these opportunities. To be effective, online environments need to engage all teachers as learners and professionals. This study investigates the type of conversations teachers have when they do participate and what features of online environments may be helpful for encouraging educational conversations among teachers. Online conversations for professional teachers groups were characterized for cognitive, social, and teaching presences. Findings indicate that more specific the conversation formats such as science specific sites and special interest subgroups, tend to be more thoughtful and reflective. Active guidance to not only initiate conversations but to encourage and guide participation in meaningful ways is needed.