Online mentoring and peer support: using learning technologies to facilitate entry into a community of practice
A vital aspect of any professional education is the opportunity for students to engage in meaningful practical experiences. In pre-service teacher education in Australia, this vital teaching practice component has undergone challenges in recent years due to increasing student numbers (linked to the increasing demand for new teachers) and limited resources in university and school sectors. As such, initiatives to enhance the practical component of this professional degree have been sought. This paper details the methodology and outcomes associated with a pilot project that utilized asynchronous Web-based communication tools to facilitate mentoring and peer support through the teaching practice experience. Analysis of the online discussions and interviews with participants provides an indication of the nature of the interactions and the perceived value of the intervention, and informs the potential for larger-scale implementation.