New steps in the organisation of the school activity in the french secondary schools: the Changing role of physics teachers
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Since the introduction in 2000 of the Personal Guided Projects (TPEs in French) for students, which are a new educational form of learning in the French secondary school, the role of physics teachers has changed. The aim of TPEs is for students to organise a portfolio on relatively broad issues usually not taught in a traditional physics course, such as the greenhouse effect or wind energy. New teaching strategies are emerging and as a result physics teachers are adapting and developing new class skills, and new models of teaching. This paper aims to investigate the new roles that some French physics teachers are developing in class when they use ICT in their practice giving a stable theoretical background for analysing virtual communities of teachers. Our study is based on a content analysis of emails exchanged between physics teachers through two mailing lists. In our study, we consider the TPE-TICE and the PHYSCHIM mailing lists of the French Ministry of Education as a computer social network connecting teachers facing the introduction of two innovations (TPEs and ICT) in their classrooms. French physics teachers exchange and share ideas and material with their colleagues through these two lists which are then used as collaborative work tools for interaction and dialogue and as a way of sharing and discussing their new experiences. These two networks can be characterised as pedagogical networks playing a vital role in the diffusion of innovations. The content analysis of exchanged emails gives a glimpse of the way teachers are considering that their role is changing in class.