Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 27(3), 99–108. (Spring, 2011)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
Requiring preservice teachers to observe the dynamics of the real-world classroom is a mandated component of accredited teacher education programs in the United States )National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education 2006).
In spite of these and other limitations, the benefits of onsite classroom observation have been commonly perceived as outweighing its detractions. However, one educational program at a small public liberal arts university is using videoconferencing technology as a means to offset these limitations and, more important, to potentially enhance the benefits of classroom observation.
The purpose of this project was to test a technologically enhanced approach to the classroom instruction of preservice teachers and pre-professional daycare providers to facilitate the merging of traditional teacher education (onsite, classroom-based observation of children’s behaviors; OSO) with modern technology (remote observation through videoconferencing; LVO).
The authors used a quasi-experimental design that involved using two sections of the same course as test and control groups.
The authors collected data for this study from college students enrolled in two simultaneously offered sections of an upper-level child development course during three consecutive academic terms.
The results indicate that the participants preferred the remote video observations over the traditional onsite observation methods in terms of convenience and the unprecedented opportunities for open discourse during the live observations. Furthermore, the remote video observations produced richer, more authentic, and more pedagogically effective observation experiences.
Another important contributing factor in favor of the remote video observations use is that an Internet infrastructure robust enough to provide adequate bandwidth for two-way audio and video transmission is, today, almost commonplace and readily available to most universities and public schools, whereas only a few years ago, insufficient bandwidth would have prevented or greatly limited the widespread implementation of videoconferencing equipment for LVO use. Also worthy of mention is the LVO’s potential to expand the type and range of classrooms available for observation.
In short, conditions are now favorable for serious consideration of this alternative and more effective method of conducting educational observations.
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (2006). Professional standards for the accreditation of schools, colleges, and departments of education. Washington, DC: Author