Journal of Teacher Education
A teacher educator uses the methodology of a design experiment to compare patterns and levels of reflection in two semesters of her students’ e-mail discussions about field experiences in urban schools. Analysis of discussion transcripts during the earlier semester revealed that higher levels of reflection were rare. With a number of changes in both the design and level of support for the discussions, students during the second semester were more inclined to write at higher levels of reflection. Important scaffolds for higher levels of reflection seemed to be tailored and general questioning from the instructor and peers, critical readings on problematic issues and inequities in urban schools, and certain online discussion threads where students were jointly analyzing sociopolitical and moral aspects of critical incidents in the field. In light of this study, suggestions are offered for future use of electronic exchanges in teacher education courses and programs.