The PGCE students were asked to review the role of digital technologies in education, specifically the Case Studies within the DeFT project and later, as newly qualified teachers, to reflect critically on the presentation, value and accessibility of the case studies.
‘The development of appropriate teaching and learning techniques and strategies requires teachers to be conversant with and able to apply knowledge of the subject and its associated pedagogy’ (See 188.8.131.52).
Exploring the practice of others: student teachers needs
While the case studies were being put together, six PGCE students shared ideas to decide what they would find useful in developing their own pedagogies in the context of digital literacies.
They felt they needed guidance in identifying the educational affordances of digital technologies, and welcomed the idea of producing resources that would support this. It was made clear that, although they used the technologies in their private lives, it could not be assumed that they would know how to translate this into professional practice. One student said:
Because it is embedded, IT, in so many things, people have this assumption that maybe we don’t need sessions on that because everyone can do that … but knowing how to do it, knowing how to translate that into classroom practice, is a different thing. Student comment.
Although they were not familiar with the term open educational resources, they described how they shared resources on Facebook:
Quite often you find yourself stuck for an idea, somebody might have found something on TES (Times Educational Supplement), or give links.
It’s like an online very large staff meeting, where you bounce ideas off each other – rather than just having 15 people there, you will have 200 people, it will be, if we continue to use it (with) schools from around Sheffield and the country.
The benefit is rather than being in a staff meeting for 15 minutes, you … can contribute any time, when the idea hits you!
They stated that they would appreciate time to experiment and ‘play’ with technologies before having to ‘perform’ with them in front of a class, and indicated that it would be useful to view how other teachers use technologies in their practice. At the end of the discussion, they outlined a few elements they would find useful in a case study:
- the ‘Blue Peter effect’, where the children’s work was displayed alongside the lesson plans, to enable them to see what the outcomes should look like
- All the ideas and information are in one location
- Clarity clear, precise, have a picture to grab your attention
- the title and two or three bullet points in bold or red
- to hint at what the findings were at the beginning
- instructions on how it could be adapted.
Exploring the practice of others: peer review and team teaching
Each student in the group examined four or five case studies against specific criteria reflecting on their potential for student/teacher use:
- Accessibility – is the subject matter immediately evident?
- Clarity – is there clear evidence of digital practice?
- Process – are the aims and outcomes of the case study identified and is there a clear structure within the process?
- Digital literacies – is the use of digital technology is successfully embedded in practice and how the images, audio, video clips support this?
- Application – are the reflections helpful?
- Relevance – Is it useful/relevant to your situations in school?
The student teachers worked through the Case Studies focussing on the intended format and content for each one as it would appear in the Open textbook, using the project website at this stage to access information and materials. At this stage student teacher could not access all the video and audio recordings, however, they found the website well set out and easy to use.
The case studies are delivered in the following sections: a project summary, which gives a brief outline of the content; the narrative – a description of what happened; teacher, learner, researcher and digital literacy reflections, giving different perspectives on the work; outcomes, dissemination and repurposing, which include suggestions about how the case study can be adapted. Each case study also has a link to a section on relevant information about digital literacy, and a gallery that houses video, audio and image files from the project.
The case studies (1 – 14) are now available from the open textbook and through the links to the project website; users can choose to either download them as a single Word/pdf document or access them online, allowing access to rich media related to the case studies.