10 SES 07 C, ICT in Teacher Education Research
This paper reports on a study of online pre-course activity of two successive cohorts of intending secondary student teachers which used a case study approach to investigate the following research questions:
- What did high participation reveal about contributors and did their online activity provide indicators of future high achievement on their ITE programme?
The research was undertaken in the context of secondary ITE programmes within a post 1992 university in an urban setting in the UK. The online activity of two cohorts, each of 250 intending student teachers, was studied (2009-2011) and was informed by literature from the fields of online learning in higher education and of teacher effectiveness.
A collaborative Web 2.0 platform was created as a counter to the ‘present past’ which is still according to Fullan and Langworthy (2014) ‘the dominant model of education…. in most places today.’ This enabled anywhere, anytime collaboration and creativity between future student teachers. Augar et al (2004) noted the particular strength of this type of collaborative learning is the promotion of peer to peer interaction and the facilitation of knowledge sharing amongst learners. Such interaction can be democratic and empowering (Leuf & Cunningham, 2001). The workspace technology used comprised of wiki pages and a comment forum. Participation in the workspace was entirely voluntary and no academic credit was awarded for contributing to the site.
The potential contribution of social media to learning on pre-service initial teacher education (ITE) programmes is still underdeveloped and is consequently under-researched. This study aims to link two distinct fields of research – research into online participation and collaborative learning with research into the attributes of effective teachers with the aim of finding out if the characteristics of teachers with the highest impact on pupil learning can already be observed prior to an ITE programme, as well as further developed on the ITE programme. Teacher educators across Europe, as reported at the Project Nexus European Conference January 2014, Essen, Germany, are under intense pressure from politicians to develop ever more effective teachers who have a positive impact on their students’ achievement. This small scale study aims to investigate whether collaborative online spaces for student teachers can contribute useful information to allow teacher educators to make progress in this endeavour.
The study is firmly located within a social constructivist paradigm (Vygotsky 1986, Pritchard 2009). The research draws on a multi-strategy design (Robson 2011) selecting appropriate methods from both interpretivist and positivist methodology, containing features of flexible design research described by Robson (2011) in that the design emerged and developed during data collection.
In this study the positivist approach to research design and methodology was unlikely, on its own, to uncover the possible ‘predictor’ features of effective teaching being demonstrated by future student teachers through online participation. Equally the adoption of a solely interpretivist approach would not uncover whether there was significant evidence to support a hypothesis that those who participate the most were more likely to achieve a high grade in practical teaching. The study can be described as deductivist defined by Bryman (2008:13) as a theory which generates ‘hypotheses that can be tested.’
Adcock, L., & Bolick, C. (2011) Web 2.0 tools and the evolving pedagogy of teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 11(2). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/vol11/iss2/currentpractice/article1.cfm Augar, N., Raitman, R. & and Zhou, W. (2004) Teaching and learning online with wikis. 21st ASCILITE Conference, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth04/procs/augar.html Day, C., Stobart, G., Sammons, P., Kington, A., Gu, Q., Smees, R. and Mujaba, T., 2006. Variations in Teachers' Work, Lives and Effectiveness! Final report for the VITAE Project. London: Department for Education and Skills. Fullan, M. & Langworthy, M. (2014) A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies find Deep Learning. London: Pearson. Garrison, D.R. & Anderson, T. (2009) E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice, New York: RoutledgeFalmer. Gunawardena, C.N. & Zittle, F.J.,(1997): Social presence as a predictor of satisfaction within a computer‐mediated conferencing environment, American Journal of Distance Education, 11:3, 8-26 Hammana D., Gosselin K., Romano J, Bunuan R. (2010) Using possible-selves theory to understand the identity development of new teachers. Teaching and Teacher Education Volume 26, Issue 7 pp1349-1361 Hay McBer (2000), Research into teacher effectiveness: A model of teacher effectiveness report. Department for Education and Employment. http://www.dfee.gov.uk/teachingreforms/mcber/. Hodkinson, P. & Hodkinson, H. (2001) ‘The Strengths and Limitations of Case Study Research’, Making an Impact on Policy and Practice: Learning and Skills Development Agency conference. Cambridge, 5-7 December 2001. Leeds: University of Leeds. Leuf, B. and Cunningham, W. (2001) The Wiki Way: Quick collaboration on the web, Addison-Wesley Professional: Boston, MA Pritchard, A. (2009) Ways of learning: Learning theories and learning styles in the classroom London: Routledge (Chapter 3 p 117) Swainston, T. (2008) Effective Teachers in Secondary Schools Network Continuum: London Walsh K. (2001) Teacher Certification reconsidered: Stumbling for Quality. The Abell Foundation, Baltimore: USA. Yin, R. (2002) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Newbury Park: SAGE
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