Building capacity for reflection: aiming towards informed action through the use of web-based digital cases

Reflective thinking is an essential component of teacher and student learning. Reflection is aimed at helping teachers make sense of the phenomena of experiences that puzzle or perplex them so that they might make better decisions to impact students' achievement. It has been recognized in work by universities, boards, commissions, states, districts and other educational settings to be a critical element of accomplished teaching. Because reflection is so critical, it is important to detail methods for facilitating its growth among educators. This study documents the use of web-based digital exhibits created by accomplished teachers and used by practicing teachers in a graduate program to study pedagogical thinking and curricular experimentation. As part of a master's degree class, teachers viewed, analyzed, and discussed these exhibits with one another, calling them "cases." The cases served as common models teachers used as one method to facilitate reflection in their own practice by looking at experiences, describing experiences, analyzing experiences, experimenting, and altering thinking and actions in their classrooms.