An Emerging Community in Online Mathematics Teacher Professional Development: An Interactional Perspective

Online collaborative and content-focused professional development (PD) is becoming an increasingly important setting for supporting mathematics teachers’ professional learning. The purpose of this study was to better understand the process by which a community emerges in such a PD setting by examining how the cohesiveness of 21 mathematics teachers’ social network evolves and associated shifts in the quality of mathematics teachers’ mathematical discourse. We employed social network analysis (SNA) to examine the evolving cohesiveness of mathematics teachers’ social network and coding procedures to examine teachers’ mathematical discourse. A key finding was the documentation of an emergent divide between participation in the core and periphery during initial weeks of the PD and then a reduced divide and emergence of a social network that resembles a community. We argue that the instructor’s pattern of participation that included distributing their interactions across the subgroups while sending a common message regarding expectations for mathematical discourse in the PD may have contributed to the community formation process. We propose the Interaction Assessment Model, which outlines an approach for PD facilitators to use SNA as a feedback mechanism to differentiate facilitation of online collaborative and content-focused PD and build online communities.

Matranga, A. & Silverman, J. (2020). An emerging community in online mathematics teacher professional development: An interactional perspective. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education.