Title

Enhancing learning and assessment of pre-service teachers on practicum placements using mobile technologies with video capture

Date of Award

2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Bill Allen

Second Advisor

Alistair Campbell

Abstract

Across all educational jurisdictions, each year, large numbers of pre-service teachers are assessed for their suitability for teaching during their teacher education courses, in schools and institutions through practicum placements or workplace learning. Despite their widespread use, practicums can be notoriously variable and unreliable in terms of assessment (Rorrison, 2008) and in promoting professional learning (Grudnoff, 2011). The study reported through the publications explicit or referred to in this exegesis focused on the development of a mobile application (‘app’) to address the problems of assessment and professional growth. It was a specific response to the emerging use of mobile devices that utilise video capture, and their impact on assessing students in the practicum component of their training. It drew on existing knowledge of higher education assessments and teacher training assessments, including formative assessments and feedback, linked to the introduction of mobile devices with video capture capabilities. This study examined how mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablet devices with multimedia capabilities, could address some of the problems faced by pre-service teacher students, their school-based supervisors and the university academics who manage the practicum assessment. The overarching research question of the study was: To what extent can disciplined and structured use of mobile technologies for practicums impact on pedagogy and assessment of professional experiences of pre-service teachers? The study employed a Participatory Action Learning Action Research (PALAR) methodology to address the extent to which disciplined and structured use of mobile technologies impacted on practicum feedback of professional learning experiences of pre-service teachers. The study entailed six participatory research cycles over a four-year period, each consisting of four main phases: planning, acting and observing, reflecting and replanning. A mixed methods approach was used within the observation phases of each cycle. Because of the cyclical features of action research, the study lent itself to publishing findings throughout the project, rather than a single thesis at conclusion. Thus, reports of the research following one or more cycles were published, and this document therefore, is an exegesis of the major papers that were published over the timeframe of the study. The exegesis seeks to unify the publications and provide common themes emerging from the research project. The findings from the several cycles showed that the introduction of mobile technologies had a major impact on the practices and outcomes of pre-service teachers’ practicum experiences. The inclusion of mobile devices with video capture positively impacted on the reflective practices of pre-service teachers as well as formative assessment and feedback for pre-service teachers by providing the opportunity for more detailed, ongoing analysis of pre-service teachers’ performances while on practicum. Findings from the school-based supervising teachers also confirmed the suitability of the ‘app’ for enhancing the practicum experience and its assessment. Further research is required to demonstrate the impact of the application on enhancing learning through the medium of curriculum standards in the school environment. In addition, there is a need to explore more broadly applied mobile feedback systems in the context of practicum assessments.

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