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Video Conferencing in initial teacher training: does it make any difference in the construction of teacher trainees’ pedagogical knowledge?

By Maria Hadjipavlou


The aim of this research was to evaluate the integration of video conferencing technologies in a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) Programme in the United Kingdom for the pedagogical development of trainee teachers. Two types of video conferencing were employed in this case study of a Primary PGCE course. Firstly, weekly multi-point video conferences over VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) took place between a group of trainees whilst on school-based teaching experiences. Secondly, many-to-many video conferences were employed to enable trainees to observe remotely a number of classroom lessons, following which they had the opportunity to interact 'live' with teacher and pupils. The underpinning goal of this study was to understand the process by which trainees 'become teachers' within their university community of practice (CoP) moving towards the school CoP, with the identity issues involved, and to explore ways that technology potentially supports, sustains or expands this process. Wenger's conception of a CoP, a group of people who share a concern about what they do and who interact regularly to share what they learn in order to learn more and learn how to do it better theorised the dynamics of the group of trainees, as revealed in this qualitative research. Interview evidence was taken from trainees, university PGCE tutors and experienced teachers. It was found that video conferencing technologies genuinely enabled thinking about thinking, reflexivity, and a passion for teaching and communicating for a number of trainees within CoPs. Learning was itself the trajectory for trainees to 'become teachers'. The synchronous, immediate and communicative nature of video conferences enhanced this trajectory through the collective reflective work of all involved participants and bridged the two diverse but essentially overlapping CoPs, communities of pre-service and in-service teachers respectively

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9892

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