48 paper

Fostering communities of practice during the creation of an online classroom-based simulation

Brian Ferry, Lisa Kervin
RILE Research Centre
Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong

Working with and managing a team can be a challenge in any project development. This paper reports on how a team of researchers, an instructional designer, programmers and graphic artists worked within a community of practice, as simulation software was created and further developed. The simulated classroom represented in this software was designed to enhance the initial practicum experience of pre-service teachers. The teaching of literacy skills in primary schools framed the pedagogical focus of the software – one of the priority areas within primary schooling. We report on how research associated with each iteration of the simulation prototype software helped team members to develop understandings of each other’s role in the project. Initially the instructional designer, content experts and researchers led the development process, and other members were more like legitimate peripheral participants. Over time, all members of the team developed into legitimate participants, and formed a viable community of practice as ways to support initial teacher education were examined. We describe the processes we use to help all members of the design team enter the communities of practice through the opportunity to understand the context and purpose of the project.

Keywords: simulation, pre-service teacher education, communities of practice