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The implementation of a Web-based Learning Environment concerning teachers' collaboration in the area of Fluids
Paraskevas. A., Psillos. D.
In our work we developed and implemented a specially developed web-based
distance learning course, addressed to in service primary teachers in
Greece in the area of fluids. The course aims at enhancing participants'
understanding of fluids and as well as their collaboration towards producing
teaching learning materials for their pupils. Fluids is taught in primary
schools, in several countries including Greece, in which pupils and teachers
have alternative views and difficulties, in understanding basic ideas
concerning pressure and buoyancy. We implemented a specific strategy,
in order to promote asynchronous collaboration among participants and
evaluated results by using Murphy`s quantitative content analysis model.
During recent years, in the area of higher education, a great number of
applications have used Web-based learning environments, in order to support
distance learning courses and computer supported collaborative approaches,
in learning and problem solving, in several areas. Computer-mediated communication
can facilitate collaborative learning strategies and approaches, thus
providing opportunities for virtual communities of learners to collaborate
in ways that lead to shared understanding. Evaluating on-line collaborative
learning interactions is a complex task due to the variety of elements
and factors that take place and intervene, in the way a group of participants
comes together to collaborate, in order to achieve a learning goal. In
this context, we developed a web based teaching strategy aiming at enhancing
participants' understanding of fluids and as well as their collaboration
towards producing teaching learning materials for their pupils. In the
present study, we report on the strategy and the collaborative activities
of participating teachers. The sample of our study consisted of twenty
four, (24), experienced primary teachers, who attended a two years in
service program at the Department of Primary Education, University of
Thessaloniki. In developing the course, first software for the Web based
learning environment implementation was chosen and the open source software
B.S.C.W. (Basic Support for Collaborative Work), has been chosen, because
it is free for academic use,(http://bscw.gmd.de/ ). Second specially developed
materials in the area of fluids were digitized and uploaded to the environment.
Third based on data from two pilot studies, we designed a special mixed
strategy in order to enhance teacher’s collaboration. In order to
identify collaboration possibilities, among teachers, we carried out quantitative
content analysis of their written dialogues, using the widely applied
model of Murphy.