Early childhood student-teachers’ experiences of blended learning using Community of Inquiry as theoretical framework
Keywords:Blended learning, Community of inquiry, Democratic education, Early childhood education, Initial teacher education, Learning management systems, Social studies, Technology-mediated environment
Amongst the contemporary needs of societies in the fourth industrial revolution, are student-teachers who are adaptable, ethical, and literate in developing technology-mediated environments. Cultivating such teachers requires engaging them experientially in blended learning practices. We explored 155 student-teachers’ experiences of blended learning, at a South African institution for higher education, by using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) as theoretical framework. We created cognitive, social, and teaching presences within the initial teacher education module on their learning management system, Blackboard LearnTM. Utilising explanatory mixed-method as research approach enabled us to compare student-teachers’ experiences of the three presences using a Likert-type questionnaire and reflective feedback. Studentteachers’ online engagement reflected a good cognitive and teaching presence; whilst their social presence was maintained using disparate social media applications and consequently sidestepping this higher education institution’s learning management system. Social constructivists endorse socially situated knowledge, collaborative validation of understanding, and one’s own construction of meaning. Supposing that student-teachers education social studies for democratic citizenship education necessitate social presence as it precedes cognitive and teaching presences. The implication for higher education institutions is to create a sustainable online social presence within their learning management systems for prospective teacher citizens to be better prepared for technology-mediated milieus.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Hannelie Du Preez, Joyce West
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.