Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions of Learning Science Methods through Hybridizing Asynchronous and Traditional Experiences

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 11(3), 271-281, (2011).
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study addresses the research question about preservice teachers’ perceptions toward online learning after completing an elementary science methods course.
Specifically, their perceptions about utilizing an online science methods curriculum versus a traditional methods curriculum.

The participants were 38 senior level preservice teachers at a midwestern U.S. university.
They completed surveys about their experiences during their methods course that included a module for online content learning, videos of fourth- and fifth-grade elementary student in situ learning, and exploration of pedagogical skills embedded in an electricity module.
Furthermore, a focus group conducted at the end of a semester that incorporated an online module about electricity.

Conclusions and Implications

Survey and focus group data indicate that the preservice teachers valued and wanted more online experiences, but not as a total replacement of traditional methods experiences.
During the interview preservice teachers explained that the traditional prompts they often answer are basic and ask them to reflect about what went well and what did not go well.
The traditional prompts might also report about the physical layout of a classroom or on some type of classroom management or discipline issue.

Furthermore, teacher education preparation programs must identify with and address preservice teacher expectations about the value placed upon online experiences.
Using the video cases made improved comprehension possible because all preservice teachers could watch the same learning experience.
The interview group repeatedly stated that it was helpful for all of them to observe the same learning experience through the video cases.
Specifically, online experiences can help focus instruction and enhance student interaction about life in an elementary classroom.

The author concludes that online video cases will likely continue to provide instructors with the ability tangentially to capture elementary classroom learning environments and elementary student learning while working with preservice teachers.
Online access and journal prompting may cause university programs to consider yielding to preservice teacher demand for more online learning.
If so, then a hybrid methods course delivery may be applicable. When integrated appropriately the video cases allow instructors to create learning environments centered upon traditional curricular issues found in a science methods course.

Updated: Sep. 02, 2014