s teachers do not have camera focused
on children
- Unable to access technology f r om home computer
Professional Growth
- Lack of structured assignments/question s relating to vide os
Real World Experiences
- Videos or live-feed were too short or limited in scope to get a
“feel” for the rest of the classroom
nology-based field experiences. Candidates in the se focus groups
were quick to elaborate on the positive and negative aspects of
both types of field experiences but were very supportive of
“growing” the technology-based field experiences into stronger
and more enriching experiences. The convenience and the com-
mon experience of the technology observations were positively
cited by candidates while the frustration involved in technology
that failed was cited as the greatest limitation of this format.
Candidates in the focus groups suggested that the technology-
based observations would be more effective with equipment
that always works properly, a structured assignment completed
in conjunction with viewing the observation, and dialogue in
class during which the professor and candidates share their
thoughts on the teaching vignette. Candidates stated that view-
ing a video in which a teacher presented a lesson was not a
helpful learning tool in the absence of guidance from the pro-
fessor. Candidates want the formal “set-up” for the observation,
questions to answer while viewing the observation, and a whole
group discussion during which time the professor indicates key
concepts in the video. It would be useful for future research in
this area to include a more structured approach to technology-
based field experiences in which professors imbedded both te-
chnology and classroom-based field experiences in course as-
signments and class di scussion to further the professional g ro wt h
of candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
Limitations
Confounding variables were identified during the study that
could have created possible vulnerabilities to validity threats.
From the candidate focus groups, the authors realized certain
subjects had been exposed to technology-based experiences
more than others. Even though the authors surveyed and ran-
domly interviewed a broad sample of candidates (in terms of
major and classification) the candidates’ previous experiences
with technology-based observations were not readily articulated
since the manner of implementation varied across courses and
professors. The lack of familiarity with this type of field ex-
perience may have had an effect on the survey results as well as
the focus group responses also known as the “history effect.”
Since implementation of technology-based field experiences
was not closely monitored in relation to which candidates or
classes had the most or least amount of experience with these
non-traditional observations, and no guidelines are in place for
the method with which technology-based field experiences are
delivered, the authors feel that future research must be con-
ducted to determine the efficacy of structured technology-based
observations that involve the aforementioned format (Context,
Observation, Questions, and Discussion). Using the same peda-
gogy across courses will allow for true comparison of candi-
dates’ perceptions of these experiences, and ultimately a meas-
urement in growth of knowledge, skills, and dispositions as
professional educators.
In addition to the “history effect”, another possible variable
was acknowledged in relation to changes to the variable. Al-
though the surveyed subjects and focus groups that held discus-
sion were treated by the authors without intended bias or per-
suasion, a possibility of subject threat still existed. Candidates
were certainly aware of others’ perceptions of field experience
whether it be fellow classmates, faculty, or staff. As Jackson
(2012) explained, “Many subjects try to be ‘good subjects’,
meaning that they try to determine what the researcher wants
and to adjust their behavior accordingly” (p. 235). Although the
authors left personal opinions out of the discussion and re-
sponses remained anonymous, a possibility remains that indi-
rect actions by the candidates affected some of the results. Bas-
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
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E. BLOCK ET AL.
ing findings on self-reported measures through a survey is con-
venient but opens the findings up to questions of authentication.
Finally, the survey used in this study was not subjected to ex-
tensive testing for optimal objectivity. However, the addition of
focus groups did increase validity and evidence to support the
findings.
Recommendations for future study include more closely mo-
nitoring current and past implementation of technology-based
observation and how it impacts candidates’ perceptions related
to traditional observations. Using a survey that has been tested
for any biasness or subjectivity is also suggested. The research
conducted by the authors is thoroughly contextualized and is
meant to contribute mostly to evolving theory within teacher
education.
Conclusion
Through this process, the authors found that the surveyed
candidates valued both experience s. In other words, they enjoyed
having video-based observations because they could watch the
same scenario as their classmates and discuss accordingly. They
also appreciated the convenience of the technology-based ob-
servation. Additionally, they benefited from the classroom-
based experiences because they were immersed in the class-
room context where they gained perspective on all angles of
teaching. While the focus group data demonstrate an unexpec-
ted positive perception of technology-based field experiences,
the candidates still cited the positive outcomes of traditional
classroom-based field experiences. Ultimately, the authors found
that university candidates desire a combination of both experi-
ences throughout their educational careers. In future studies, it
is important for these authors to determine the manner in which
institutions of higher education can best incorporate both forms
of field experiences in order to meet the needs of the candidates,
remain on the cutting edge of technology, and best serve the
students in the K-12 school systems in an efficient and cost-
effective manner.
REFERENCES
Adcock, P., & Austin, W. (2002). Alternative classroom observation
through two-way audio/video conferencing systems. Proceedings of
13th Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education In-
ternational Conference, Nashville, 18-23 March 2002.
Capraro, M. M., Capraro, M. R., & Helfeldt, J. (2010). Do differing
types of field experiences make a difference in teacher candidates’
perceived level of competence? URL (last check 24 September 2012).
http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ872653.pdf
Chang, S. H. (2009). Concerns of teacher candidates in an early field
experience. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 2 2 , 19-25.
Edwards, J. (1996). A dose of reality for future teachers. Educational
Leadership, 54, 56-57.
Ferber, T., & Nillas, L. A. (2010). Through the eyes of student teachers:
Successes and challenges in field teaching experiences. National
Teacher Education Journal, 3, 61-86.
Hixon, E., & So, H. (2009). Technology’s role in field experiences for
preservice teacher training. Educational Technology & Society, 12,
294-304.
Jackson, S. L. (2012). Research methods and statistics: A critical thin-
king approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Ce ng age Learning.
Kale, U., & Whitehouse, P. (2011). Pre-service teacher learning: Peda-
gogical content knowledge in video-based problem-solving. In M.
Koehler, & P. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information
Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp.
4360-4367). Che s a pe a ke , VA: AACE.
Razzouk, R., & Lehman, J. (2002). Video conferencing as a tool to link
colleges of education with K-12 schools: A P3T3 project initiative.
In D. Willis et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information
Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2002 (pp.
2424-2425). Che s a pe a ke , VA: AACE.
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2010). Trans-
forming teacher education through clinical practice: A national
strategy to prepare effective teachers. Washington: NCATE Publica-
tions.
Vavasseur, C. (2012). Teach me how to tech: Video conferencing in the
classroom. Eugene: Vis i o n s Technology in Education.
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E. BLOCK ET AL.
Appendix A
Thank you for participating in this survey on field expe-
riences in the Department of Teac her Education at Nicholls
State University. Please answer each question by bubbling
in the corresponding letter of your choice on the scantron
sheet.
Demographic Information
1) What is your decl are d major?
a) B-5/Early Interventionist Education (BFED)
b) PreK-3rd grade
c) 1 - 5 Elementary Education
d) 4 - 8 Middle School
e) Secondary Education (math, English, science, social stud-
ies, FACS, music, art, busine ss)
2) What is your classification?
a) Freshman
b) Sophomore
c) Junior
d) Senior
Section I of this survey includes questions about the pro-
cess of obtaining field experiences. Think back to the last
class in which the field experience coordinator (i.e. Alyson
Theriot) placed you for your field experiences. Answer the
following questions about your expe r ienc e s:
3) Have you taken an education course that required you to
see the field experience coordinator (i.e. Alyson Theriot) for
Field Placements? (If yes, please answer questions 4 - 6. If no,
please skip to question 7)
a) Yes
b) No
4) I found the field placement process (completing required
paperwork, receiving placement, visiting school(s) to drop off
paperwork, communication with teacher(s), completion of as-
signment) to be complicated.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
5) After I dropped off the required paperwork at my assigned
school(s), I was contacted by the teacher in a timely manner,
ensuring completion of the assignment by the due date.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
6) The process of acquiring my field placement through the
field experience coordinator (i.e. Alyson Theriot) influenced
my overall experience in the field.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
Think about the courses in which you are currently en-
rolled that require you to find your own field placements.
Answer the following questions about your experiences:
7) Are you taking an Education course in Spring, 2011 in
which you are required to seek out your own field placements?
(If yes, please answer questions 8-10. If no, please skip to ques-
tion 11).
a) Yes
b) No
8) I found the current field placement process (finding my
own placement and turning in the required paperwork to the
field experience coordinator and/or my instructor) to be com-
plicated.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
9) After finding a placement for my field experience(s) I
communicated with my teacher in a timely manner, ensuring
completion of the assignment by the due date.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
10) The process of acquiring my own field placement influ-
enced my overall experience in the field.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
Section II of this survey includes questions about the For-
mat of Field Experiences. Think back to the courses in which
you completed Level I Observations. Answer the following
questions about your experiences:
11) I have found classroom based observations (observing in
a classroom in the field) to be a valuable learning experience in
my education courses.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
12) Transportation (access to and/or cost) for classroom ba-
sed observations is a hardship.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
13) I believe that the ideal number of observation hours is
_______ per course.
a) Zero (0) observation hours
b) 1 - 3 observation hours
c) 4 - 6 observation hours
d) 7 - 10 observation hours
e) More than 10 observation hours
14) Classroom based observations significantly impact my
professional choices (age, grade level, population that I wish to
teach).
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
15) Classroom based observations significantly impact my
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E. BLOCK ET AL.
future classroom management skills.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
16) Classroom based observations significantly impact my
future lesson implementation.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
17) Classroom based observations significantly impact my
view of the teacher/student relationship.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
18) Classroom based observations significantly impact my
feelings about becoming a teacher.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
19) Classroom based observations significantly impact my
view of teaching as a profession.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
Think about the courses in which you are currently enrolled,
or have taken in the past, that require you to complete technol-
ogy based observations (digital observations on Blackboard,
video observations in class, virtual field experiences via a live
feed, etc). Answer the following questions about your experi-
ences:
20) Have you taken, or are presently enrolled in an Educa-
tion course that requires you to complete technology based ob-
servation(s) (digital observations on Blackboard, video obser-
vations in class, virtual field experiences via a live feed, etc)?
(If yes, please answer questions 21 - 27. If no, please skip to
question 28).
a) Yes
b) No
21) I have found technology based observations to be a va-
luable learning experience in my education courses .
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
22) Technology based observations significantly impact my
professional choices (age, grade level, population that I wish to
teach).
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
23) Technology based observations significantly impact my
future classroom management skills.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
24) Technology based observations significantly impact my
future lesson implementation.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
25) Technology based observations significantly impact my
view of the teacher/student relationship.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
26) Technology based observations significantly impact my
feelings about becoming a teacher.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
27) Technology based observations significantly impact my
view of teaching as a profession.
a) Strongly Agree
b) Agree
c) Neutral
d) Disagree
e) Strongly Disagree
28) If given a choice of observation format in my education
classes, I would choose the following:
a) Classroom based observations ONLY (in the field)
b) Technology based observation ONLY (digital observa-
tions on Blackboard, video observations in class, virtual field
experiences via a live feed, etc)
c) A combination of classroom and technology based obser-
vations
Appendix B
Focus Group Questions on Level I Field Experiences
- Introductions.
- Purpose of focus group is to gather candidates’ opinions on
level I field experiences (observations) in teacher education
courses.
- Process is informal and names will not be attached to re-
sponses.
- All responses are anonymous.
- Recording the discussion for a record of comments.
1) We would first like to ask you for some feedback or input
on Classroom Based observations in the schools.
a) What do you all see as the advantages of classroom based
observations?
b) What do you see as the disadvantages of classroom based
observations?
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E. BLOCK ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
1418
2) We would like to ask you for some feedback on technol-
ogy based observations. Examples of technology based obser-
vations include: classroom observations via a live feed, digital
observations on BB, video observations in class.
a) What type of technology based observations have you ex-
perienced and what do you see as the advantages of those ob-
servations?
b) Wha t do y ou se e a s th e disa dva nta ges of te ch nolo gy base d
observations?
3) We would like to ask for feedback on your ideas for im-
proving the observation learning experience.
a) How do you think classroom based observations could be
improved?
i) Probe candidates if they only focus on logistics and not
learning/outcomes.
b) How do you think technology based observations can be
improved?
i) Probe candidates if they focus on logistics and not learn-
ing/outcomes.
4) After completing observations, some professors require a
summary, reflection, or discussion in class.
a) We would like your input on how classroom based obser-
vations were used or integrated into your college course.
b) Tell us how technology based observations were used or
integrated into your class by your professor.
Appendix C
Faculty Focus Group Questions on Level I Field Experi-
ences
- Introductions
- Purpose of focus group is to gather faculty opinions on
level I field experiences.
- Process is informal and names will not be attached to re-
sponses.
- All responses are anonymous
- Recording the discussion for a record of comments
1) We would first like to ask you for your feedback on
Classroom Based observations in the schools.
a) What do you think are advantages of classroom based ob-
servations?
b) What do you see as the disadvantages of classroom based
observations?
2) We would like to ask you for some feedback on technol-
ogy based observations.
a) What type of technology based observations have you
used in your classes?
b) What do you think are the advantages of those observa-
tions?
c) Where do you see technology based observations going in
the future?
d) Wha t do y ou se e a s th e disa dva nta ges of te ch nolo gy base d
observations?
e) What are the barriers to using technology based observa-
tions?
3) We would like to ask for feedback on your ideas for im-
proving technology based observations/field experiences.
a) How do you think technology based observations can be
improved?
4) After completing observations, some professors require a
summary, reflection, or discussion in class.
a) How do you integrate classroom based observations in
your courses?
b) How do you integrate technology based observations in
your courses?
5) Do you think the Level I Field Experiences should involve
classroom based observations only, technology based observa-
tions only, or a “combination of both?”