CREATING AN ONLINE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY
Chapters 9 and 10 look at the development of teachers' personal and professional information and communication technology (ICT) capability by focusing on UK students training to teach in the primary school on a one-year course for the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). This chapter considers the use of an online asynchronous discussion forum to extend opportunities for students to share issues arising from a challenging course. In Chapter 10 the student teachers demonstrate their growing understanding of appropriate use of ICT in their professional development. Computer mediated communication (CMC) here refers to the use of an asynchronous forum, one in which messages can be accessed via the Internet at any time and discussion is threaded under a topic heading. Nationally the use of such networks is a way of 'supporting professional debate about professional issues' (Leask 2001: 6) and is referred to in the ICT standards within the Initial Teacher Training National Curriculum. There is debate as to the efficacy of such networks, particularly those that exist on government sponsored sites (Leask 2001). Nevertheless, a growing number of such discussion facilities exist informally (either as asynchronous forums or email lists) and provide a mechanism for the exchange of information or the sharing of resources.