This paper reveals the potential of videoconferencing as a medium for engaging professional thinking of first year preservice teachers. It draws data from the findings of a two-year project (2001-2002) which creates a Virtual Workplace (VW) for preservice teacher education and inservice professional development. Basically, preservice teachers in the large lecture theatres at the Kelvin Grove Campus, watch via videoconference, live lessons being taught from school classrooms. They interact with the teachers before and after the lessons, and participate in professional conversations in tutorials and online on specific teaching/learning topics.
The special impact on first year preservice teachers' orientation to practice has emerged as a key benefit of the project. This is developed here under the methods of guided observation, student/teacher interactions, the embeddedness of theory in practice and the generation of professional conversation (focus groups) with regard to demonstrated pedagogy. Engagement through these methods enabled the surface learning of the videoconference to become integral to deep learning and the learning about practice to occur.