n Education as Change - Internet-based teacher development in the context of curricular change : a South African case study

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This paper explores the potential of Internet-based teacher development for improving the training outcomes associated with the implementation of Curriculum 2005, and thus for facilitating curricular reform in South African schools. It employs the concept of "communities of practice" (Wenger, 1998) as its conceptual framework. A case study was conducted of the Educators' Development Network - a South African open learning project that aims to create learning communities of teachers online. Data was collected through a thematic analysis of course evaluations submitted by participating teachers and their project mentors. Statistical relationships were computed in order to ascertain relationships between successful group learning and other factors reported by participants and mentors. The findings of the study are that the full emergence of virtual learning communities as intended by the project developers has not occurred, principally because levels of participation by teachers in their communities have not been as high as the developers had anticipated. Evidence has however been found of a relationship between successful teacher learning and effective mentoring practices, as well as communal learning support from peer participants. The study concludes that the Educators' Development Network can be regarded, even though somewhat tentatively, as a suggestive model for how Internet-based teacher development can be provided on a wider scale in South Africa.


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