Flipping the Conversation: Using Synchronous Online Learning Tools to Forster Interactivity and Discussion
Abstract: We believe that teacher education can step up to improve teacher competence in using effective online practices to augment traditional classroom instruction. This pilot project uses a peer-mentor model as our faculty design synchronous online learning experiences to integrate pedagogically effective technology. Participants in this project are graduate and undergraduate teacher candidates in content area reading and educational technology courses. Each course instructor uses Blackboard Collaborate as a synchronous communication tool and incorporates a wide variety of interactive features. Through guided reflection on their own online learning experience, teacher candidates learn how synchronous online learning tools can be integrated in K-12 instruction. In addition, the teacher educators gain practical ideas to design and manage synchronous online instruction, which they use to mentor others. In this presentation, we share the results of our pilot project and suggest effective instructional strategies for the implementation of synchronous online learning in teacher education programs.