Student teachers often say they struggle in their initial assignments because they feel isolated from their peers and professors and cannot easily get advice about the circumstances they encounter in the classroom. Now, schools of education are experimenting with using the internet to keep student teachers in contact with their professors and with experienced teachers. Through asynchronous communication (i.e., unscheduled messaging), student teachers ask questions and get answers online.
Asynchronous communication has several advantages over traditional methods of working with student teachers. First, it can be conducted at any hour of the day; just leave a message, and eventually a response will be received. Second, it avoids the frustration of missing each other by telephone. Third, online communication between people who don’t know each other (as often occurs if the student teacher did not actually take a course from the professor overseeing the student teaching assignment) tends to be easier than phone conversations.
Schools of education typically choose a single professor to be the primary liaison and coordinator of the message site for student teachers. This professor may collect and analyze all the questions received during a semester and use that information to improve teacher education programs in the future.