The Connected Classroom – Using Video Conferencing Technology to Enhance Teacher Training

Julia Drexhage, Dominik Leiss, Torben Schmidt, Timo Ehmke

Abstract


Bridging the gap between theory and practice in a meaningful way is one of the major challenges facing teacher training today. This problem could be solved in several ways, but this paper examines the potential of video-based learning to engage trainee teachers in school–university partnerships using video conferencing technology. Often utilized in other educational contexts, video conferencing enables audio-visual exchanges between universities and schools via Internet with the advantage of involving a broad variety of stakeholders simultaneously. Drawing on theoretical insights, trainee teachers develop lesson materials and ideas they can then watch practising teachers realise in a live classroom setting. Afterwards they have the opportunity for discussions with teachers and pupils. Live streaming affords trainee teachers the benefits of observing actual classroom situations in real time, actively engaging them in real school problems and potentially broadening their perspective through deeper learning about teachers’ and pupils’ views and ideas. In a qualitative interview study, trainee teachers who took part in a video conference were asked to evaluate their work with the conferencing system. The study showed that students criticized the technical equipment. However, they were mainly positive in their assessment of this technology emphasizing the usefulness of joint exchanges and reflections, contextualized observations, and their own active engagement. Future research should include quantitative studies to expand the attitude survey.

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Editor-in-Chief: Prof Norbert Pachler
UCL Institute of Education, University College London
ISSN 1746-9082