10 SES 01 B, Research on Programmes and Pedagogical Approaches in Teacher Education
360-degree video is becoming increasingly prevalent in a range of contexts, such as virtual and augmented reality (e.g., Argyriou, Economou, and Bouki, 2017); it is an immersive type of video content which allows the viewer to look around in all directions, giving them choice and control over what they see. In addition, spatial audio is also recorded by the camera; this provides directional information to the viewer to enable them to identify the source of student speech from anywhere within the classroom. As far back as 2015 Ibrahim-Didi suggested that new applications of technology, such as 360-degree video, had the potential to support teachers to develop the critical skills needed to reflectively examine their own practice (Ibrahim-Didi, 2015); however, such use of 360-degree video has remained unreported in the research literature. In a recent study, we aimed to address this apparent gap, using 360-degree video technology to develop trainee teacher reflection (Walshe and Driver, 2018). We recorded trainee primary teachers in the classroom using 360-degree video technology and then asked them to watch the video back using Virtual Reality (VR) headsets and using think-aloud protocol to reflect on their practice. Results suggested that the immersive, embodied experience of reflecting using 360-degree video became an intermediary to real-life classroom settings through which students were able to re-experience their teaching; this supported students to produce reflections which show a much better understanding of their and their pupils’ behaviours, developing in them better appreciation of pupil engagement and learning. As such, we argued that 360-degree video has significant potential to transform the way we support student teacher pedagogical practice.
If 360-degree video and VR technology is so effective at supporting teacher reflection, what is its further potential for supporting teacher development, particularly within the context of Initial Teacher Education (ITE)? Our ITE context is that of a BA Primary Education Studies degree, a theory-led course which does not incorporate compulsory school-based placements. As such, one of our challenges is how to give our students a real understanding of teachers’ in situ classroom decision-making and knowledge; in particular, their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK: Shulman, 1986). PCK synthesises teachers’ pedagogical knowledge (what they know about teaching) and their subject matter knowledge (what they know about what they teach); as such, it represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular aspects of subject matter are organised, adapted, and represented for teaching (Mishra and Koehler, 2006). Schulman ((1986) argues that for teachers to be successful, they have to develop both aspects of their practice (pedagogy and content) simultaneously.
For this reason, this project considered how we might use 360-degree video and interactive digital overlay to produce 360-degree experiences which, when embedded into ITE, could be used to support student teacher development, in particular their understanding of teachers’ decision-making, and their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK: Shulman, 1986). The study was framed as an interpretive case study underpinned by socio-cultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978) and explored the following research questions: RQ1. To what extent does the use of 360-degree experiences support the development of student teacher pedagogical content knowledge? RQ2. How does this manifest in their lesson planning?
This research was framed as an interpretive case study undertaken with 23 second undergraduate students on a BA Primary Education Studies course. The work was aligned with modules developing students’ English and Maths PCK and comprised four stages: Stage 1: Teaching recorded with 360-degree video We recorded four practicing teachers based in two Primary Academy Schools. Teaching comprised 30-minute lessons of either English or Maths and was recorded using two cameras to provide two perspectives: a high-end stereoscopic 360-degree camera with binaural audio which was mounted on a monopod and placed at pupils’ eye level, and a consumer-level 360-degree monoscopic camera suspended from the class overhead projector. Stage 2: Post-teaching teacher reflection Two weeks after their teaching, teachers were asked to reflect on their practice whilst watching the 360-degree video footage. Reflection was unstructured and used ‘think-aloud protocol’ in which teachers were asked to observe their teaching, note their pedagogical decisions and articulate their thoughts and feelings, to facilitate reflection (Cotton and Gresty, 2006). Our original intention was that teachers would watch their microteaching activity whilst wearing a virtual reality headset (VR Shinecon); this would create a fully immersive, first-person perspective (Ibrahim-Didi, 2015) and has worked successfully in previous work (Walshe and Driver, 2018). However, limitations of poor wifi connection in schools meant that we had to stream video via a desktop computer; the teachers were then able to use a keyboard and mouse to navigate through the 360-degree space of the recording. Stage 3: Creation of interactive 360-degree experiences in Virtual Reality The third stage involved the creation of interactive 360-degree experiences in VR using an immersive learning platform. Use of the digital overlay enabled us to incorporate analytical commentaries from the teachers’ recorded at key points (as standard video clips), pose questions at different points within the microteaching, and provide interactive activities that support students to consider teaching and learning from different perspectives. These 360-degree experiences were then incorporated into the course virtual learning environment; students were able to watch these on desktop computers at home, but more effectively through VR Headsets within the classroom which enabled them to view the media in a more immersive form. Stage 4: Individual student interviews During the final stage, we undertook individual, semi-structured interviews with five students to explore their experience with using the 360-degree video and its impact on their understanding of practice.
Preliminary results of this project suggest that the immersive, embodied nature of the 360-degree experiences supports students’ understanding of pedagogical practice in a number of ways. Perhaps the clearest theme emerging from interview discussion is that of spatial situatedness as students feel as though they are physically in the classroom when engaging with the 360-degree experiences: the embodied feeling of ‘being there’ (Heidegger, 1962). This is particularly significant for the context of ITE where it is not always easy to facilitate students’ access to classroom environments. Further, the immersive, embodied nature of the 360-degree experiences appeared to support students’ understandings of the wider narrative of scene-setting within a lesson. For example, one recorded lesson involved the use of a bakery setting for a Year 2 lesson on fractions; as students experienced the classroom, emplaced within its space and time, they were better able to understand the significance of this narrative as a pedagogical decision. Beyond the narrative, the use of the 360-degree experiences allowed students to better understand the decision-making processes of the teacher, both in their planning and their in-situ responses to the fluid happenings of the classroom. Results suggest two key implications for ITE practice. Firstly, even through engaging with a small number of 360-degree experiences, students were beginning to develop a more nuanced understanding of teacher pedagogical decision-making, both planned and in situ, in particular their use of classroom space to support pupils’ learning. We suggest, therefore, that were a range of 360-degree experiences embedded across the ITE curriculum they would have potential to significantly support the development of students’ pedagogical content knowledge. Secondly, the process of creating the 360-degree experiences itself is of significant benefit to the practicing teachers who are recorded to provide the content, supporting them to reflect more deeply on their practice.
Argyriou, L., Economou, D. & Bouki, V. (2017). 360-degree interactive video application for Cultural Heritage Education. In: iLRN 2017: Coimbra workshop, long and short paper, and poster proceedings from the Third Immersive Learning Research Network Conference. Retrieved from https://dx.doi.org/10.3217%2F978-3-85125-530-0. Cotton, D., & Gresty, K. (2006). Reflecting on the think-aloud method for evaluating e-learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(1), 45-54. Heidegger M (1962) Being and Time. New York: Harper and Row. Ibrahim-Didi K (2015) “Immersion within 360 video settings: Capitalising on embodied perspectives to develop reflection-in-action within pre-service teacher education.” In Thomas T Levin E Dawson P Fraser K and Hadgraft R (eds) Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for Life and Work in a Complex World. Melbourne: HERDSA, pp.235-245. Mishra, P. & Koehler, M.J. (2006). “Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A Framework for Teacher Knowledge.” Teachers College Record, 108 (6), 1017-1054. Stake, R.E. (1995). The Art of Case Study Research. California: Sage Publications. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Walshe, N. and Driver, P. (2018). Developing reflective trainee teacher practice with 360-degree video. Teaching and Teacher Education. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2018.11.009
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