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Secondary Education, Master of Arts with Certification Amy Bacevich // Deanna Birdyshaw // Anrew Krumm // Ronald Miller // Charles Peters // Kara Suzuka
Areas of Study
The OOCP seeks to change both preservice teacher learning and teacher education program development. The goals are aligned with the Teacher Education Initiative’s ongoing efforts to improve the professional education of teachers at The University of Michigan. Specifically, the OOCP seeks to • • • support beginning teachers in learning to document, interpret, and improve their practice through the study of digital records of practice, contribute to building a curriculum for teacher education that integrates the use of digital records of practice, and investigate the infrastructure and technology services needed to support the use of digital records of practice for improving preservice teacher learning.
Larry // Preservice Science Teacher
Students capture video clips from their classrooms demonstrating areas of their instruction that they would like to discuss with their field instructor and classmates. Students address a variety of topics such as the effectiveness of classroom routines, quality of interactions with students, questioning strategies, explanation of problems, and demonstration and representation of disciplinary concepts. The discussions begin with the student presenting a context for the video and an explanation of the area of practice that the student would like to probe. A field instructor helps students unpack the teaching episode by guiding them through a discussion protocol designed to keep them focused on the actions portrayed in the video and the question raised by the preservice teacher presenting the teaching episode.
1x1 Computing Pilot
Each of the 53 preservice teachers in the MAC program received a digital video camera, a laptop computer, and an external hard drive. Preservice teachers used the technology to record instances of teaching and collect records of practice in their field experience placements. Preservice teachers used these records of practice to engage in structured learning activities and assignments in their teacher education courses. In addition, several preservice teachers used the technology to support their instruction of secondary students. Most of the structured work with records of practice took place in a year-long course entitled, “Reflective Field Experience.” Early activities in the fall 2007 term focused on familiarizing the preservice teachers with the technology. Preservice teachers explored using the technology to illustrate and investigate the domains of teaching emphasized in the MAC program’s “Effective Teaching Standards.” Structured learning activities in the fall 2007 term emphasized observation and investigation of their mentor teacher’s practice. As the preservice teachers took on more teaching responsibilities in the winter 2008 term, the focus shifted to the collection and study of records of their own teaching practice. With this shift in focus toward their own practice came a shift in the key assignments involving records of practice, which became more open-ended and student-driven.
Larry is interested in increasing the effectiveness of his explanations of important science concepts and wonders if using a metaphor might help his students understand concepts in more depth. In this example Larry introduces ionization energy.
After writing the definition of ionization energy on the board and introducing the concept of trends, Larry places a pink toy in his pocket. He introduces the toy as his friend, someone he keeps close and interacts with every day. He says he would notice if someone tried to take him away.
Larry then throws the pink toy to someone in the back row of the class and compares his attraction for “his friend” now that he is so far away from him that he is not constantly aware of him. He talks about not even noticing if someone tried to take him away.
After his demonstration, Larry goes to the whiteboard and draws concentric circles illustrating the location of electrons with potentially high ionization energy and those with low.
During the group discussion classmates question the way Larry has represented the concept of ionization energy. They applaud him for the engaging way he presented the concept, but wonder whether the demonstration actually helped students understand the concept.
Through their analysis of the alignment among the instructional objectives and the knowledge demonstrated by the students in the video clip, students provide insightful suggestions about how Larry might improve the instructional episode depicted in his video.
During the year, students captured and shared a variety of records of practice. These records served as the foundation for reflection and analysis of the work of teaching. In addition to taping classroom episodes, students did the following assignments:
At the end of the program students are required to present a teaching e-Portfolio (electronic). The e-Portfolio is structured around the overarching question: How much progress have you made toward becoming an effective teacher? In answering this question students gather records of practice that focus on six areas: • • • • • • Planning and Preparing for Instruction Designing and Using a Variety of Assessments Implementing Instruction Creating a Positive Classroom Environment Relationships Within and Outside of School Personal Inquiry in a topic of interest
The One-to-One Computing Pilot (OOCP) is a collaborative effort of the Secondary Master of Arts with Certification (MAC) program, the Teacher Education Initiative, and School of Education Technology Services that seeks to enable preservice teachers, through the use of a coherent technology package, to access, study, and learn from and about the practice of teaching. During the 2007-08 pilot year, preservice teachers in the MAC program engaged in adapting and improving their practice over time through critical study and collegial examination of “records of practice.” These records included video and audio recordings of classroom interactions, images of student work samples, copies of lesson plans, and other classroom artifacts.
Explanation of Records of Practice
“Records of Practice” refers to the representations of the activities and artifacts that fill the daily tasks of teaching. They include: • • • Audio and video representations of teaching and learning Lesson Plans and other evidence of instructional planning Samples of student work
Reflective Writing Task (RWT)
One type of assignment is a Reflective Writing Task (RWT). Students are asked to examine what they observe in classrooms and to reflect upon how they might use this insight to further develop their practice. The purpose of an RWT is to: • • • • • • • integrate and synthesize what students observe deepen self-understanding document the knowledge, skills, abilities, and dispositions used by their mentors use Standards and Benchmarks as a way to think about aspects of effective teaching gather baseline information on important aspects of classroom environment that becomes a resource for your e-Portfolio engage in a self-assessment that provides a deeper reflection on the content specified in the selected benchmarks provide evidence that tracks progress in the program toward becoming an effective teacher
The successes and challenges encountered during the OOCP’s first year continue to shape implementation of the program. Lessons learned from the first year include the importance of • • • building an infrastructure to organize, share, and store records of practice; acknowledging the changing role of course and field instructors; and scaffolding preservice teachers’ use of records of practice to learn about and from teaching, which involves supporting a diverse group of novices to use technology; to frame useful questions around records of practice; to select rich and pertinent records of practice; and to observe and discuss teaching carefully and critically with colleagues.