This paper builds on Grossman’s notion of approximations of practice as scaled-down opportunities for preservice teachers to learn to teach by doing. The authors propose the use of media rich, collaborative web-authoring tools for preservice teachers to create, complete, or edit scenarios in which they practice particular activities of teaching, such as explaining a mathematics concept or reviewing students’ work. The ways these environments can be used to fit the notion of approximations of practice are described, along with the authors’ experience using the web-based software Depict (in the LessonSketch platform) in the teaching of secondary mathematics methods. This use of multimedia scenarios combines the advantages of visual and video-based approaches to the study of practice with those approaches that ask the preservice teachers to create scenarios (e.g., lesson plays). The value of integrating this storyboarding web software in a larger environment where scenarios can be created collaboratively, annotated, and commented on in forums is presented.
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Teacher professional development and course work using asynchronous online environments seems promising, yet little is known about how mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) develop practices for such spaces. Research has shown that views of learning impact design of online learning spaces, enabling and constraining particular student action. More remains to be examined about the steps being taken to make sense of MTEs’ practices to support learning. In this paper, facets of MTEs’ struggle to design an asynchronous online environment and enact a practice aligned with a view of learning are explored.