The MERLOT ELIXR Initiative offers a digital case story repository that hosts more than 70 discipline-specific multimedia stories. Elixr - Reimaging Learning Spaces - Teacher Education is one of these case stories. It highlights virtual classroom visits (VCV) that create observations in common for student teachers.
The material presented in this case study offers virtual class observations as a solution to challenges associated with F2F observations for pre-service teachers ,in teacher preparation programs , especially at the undergraduate level Challenges such as time constraints, and scheduling conflicts , and a lack of teacher preparation, often leads to ineffective field experiences. Considerations for conducting classroom observations in an asynchronous environment as an alternative, is also included in this case study.
Examples for setting up a virtual classroom observation include meeting technical requirements, K-12 involvement, and F2F preferences. The learning outcomes from the virtual classroom observation is the result from of observing a master teacher , such as engaging in questioning and answering sessions, to gain further insight about effective teaching strategies, which is further highlighted by observing a third grade math class in which video clips are Interspersed throughout observation that highlight various aspects of this aspect .
An example of learning component of virtual classroom observations is the theory-practice discussions and reflective practice for teachers is also included in this material.
•The participant will increase an understanding of the requirements for setting up a virtual classroom observation, and demonstrate an understanding of such requirements, by following the procedures , determining the technical requirements for setting , and making K-12 connections.
•By questioning and gaining clarification gaining understanding of effective teaching strategies and best practices, student will be able to increase their understanding of the application of theory and practice, taught in their preparation courses.
Target Student Population:
•Target population includes undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs, and methods courses facilitated by faculty and university supervisors and university faculty in general.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
None. An understanding of how typical classroom observations are conducted by student teachers helps you appreciate this presentation even more.
Knowledge of pedagogy and domains for effective teaching practices, standards for teacher preparation programs and computer skills are helpful. Also, knowledge of standards being observed can contribute to its usefulness.
Type of Material:
The nature and content of this case study is applicable for :
•Undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs
•Professional development in teacher preparation programs, and lecture for method courses, and for students working as collaborative learning teams to peer review effective teaching strategies in a virtual classroom observation
and informing university technology staff how to set up and implement virtual classroom visit observations.
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Evaluation and Observation
This content models a specific approach for improving the quality of a real-time student teacher classroom observation and the ability to debrief it with the classroom teacher. All student teachers get to view the same lesson so they have a common point of reference. The university professor and classroom teacher can both contribute to the debriefing. The organization of Elixr provides clear, succinct information that can be used by higher ed faculty anywhere. The series of seven short digital clips target the key points and each can be accessed individually as needed.
Setting up a virtual classroom observation as well other applications such as using in a lecture to support collaborative learning teams, for example are all content specific, and requires an assignment. Although the content is integrated, the inclusion of a rubric could have increased the integration of the concept. For, example, students need to know that there are varying degrees of effective teaching. The rubric offers consistency in what to look for, and helps to increase teacher effectiveness.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The information presented and modeled is specific and clear. Faculty who work with student teachers may want to implement this approach at their campus. To do so, they have a complete overview of the key steps to consider and how they might approach this. The approach may not be adaptable for all campuses due to program size, geographic area served, or costs needed to implement it, but it certainly provides a good, concrete example.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The Elixr case story template that is used is clear, clean, and easy to navigate. The navigation icons are intuitive and strategically placed for viewer convenience. The video clip that you are viewing is on the left, the scrolling supporting documentation is in the middle, and the series of related video clips that show all the steps of the case story are on the right. There is an icon just below the main video if there are additional notes available that address the content being covered. Overall, it is a very slick presentation.
•The student feedback to guided responses is not assessed. The inclusion goals and a rubric may have served as an informal assessment to consistently measure student learning outcomes
Other Issues and Comments:
This will be most appealing to higher education teacher education faculty.