Using Internet delivered video cases, to support pre-service teachers' understanding of effective early literacy instruction: An exploratory study

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<ul><li><p>Instructional Science 31: 317340, 2003. 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands. 317</p><p>Using Internet delivered video cases, to support pre-serviceteachers understanding of effective early literacy instruction:An exploratory study </p><p>P.G. SCHRADER1, DONALD J. LEU, JR.2, CHARLES K. KINZER3,ROSEMARIE ATAYA2, WILLIAM H. TEALE4, LINDA D. LABBO5 &amp;DANA CAMMACK31California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, USA; 2Department ofEducational Psychology, University of Connecticut, CT 06269, USA; 3Department ofTeaching and Learning, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235, USA; 4College ofEducation, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1040 W. Harrison M/C 147, Chicago, IL 60607,USA; 5Department of Reading Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA(author for correspondence, e-mail: peegee@peegee.net)</p><p>Abstract. This preliminary study explores the effects of using CTELL (Case TechnologiesEnhancing Literacy Learning) cases on preservice teachers learning. Students participatedin one of three instructional treatments: traditional, traditional plus video, and traditionalplus CTELL cases. A pre-post concept web, describing students understanding of effectivereading instruction, served as the major outcome measure. This was supplemented with aunidimensional confidence measure, journal entries, and student interviews. No significantdifferences were found for any of the three treatment conditions on the concept mapping taskor the confidence measure. However, the journal entries and interview data highlight importantissues, challenges and benefits, with respect to the use of multimedia cases. Implications forteacher education are explored.</p><p>Keywords: internet delivered video, Literacy and Technology, multimedia case-basedinstruction, pre-service teacher education</p><p>Nations around the world have discovered the important challenges facingeducational systems that seek to prepare citizens for their future within aglobal information society (Web-based Education Commissions Report tothe President and Congress of the United States, 2000). This is especiallytrue with respect to a skill critical to success in an information society:reading (International Reading Association, 2001). Numerous countries havedeveloped higher national standards in reading along with a regular programof testing students to determine the extent to which they have achieved thesestandards (Leu, 2000), especially those with more centrally organized educa-tional systems (e.g., Finland, Ireland, the UK), and nations in which federal</p><p> All appendices may be found at http://www.isspecissue.uconn.edu</p></li><li><p>318</p><p>policy significantly affects educational practices in schools (e.g., Australia,the US) (Leu &amp; Kinzer, 2000).</p><p>Interestingly, although the literacy requirements demanded of an informa-tion society have increased substantially (International Reading Association,2001), the abilities of American students have not changed over the past threedecades according to recent data from the National Assessment of Educa-tional Progress (NAEP) (Donahue, Finnegan, Lutkus, Allen &amp; Campbell,2001). Only 14% of students coming from low socioeconomic backgroundsperformed at the Proficient Reading Level on the NAEP. Additionally, lowscoring students (10th percentile or less), scored lower in 2000 than they didin 1992, while higher scoring students, at the 75th and 95th percentile, scoredsignificantly higher in 2000 than they did in 1992. These data suggest that animportant challenge exists with regard to preparing all students for the readingdemands that will be an important part of their future in an information age.</p><p>Central to effective reading instruction in the classroom is effectiveteacher preparation in reading instruction. A recent report by The NationalResearch Councils Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties inYoung Children (Snow, Burns &amp; Griffin, 1998) suggests that young childrenof diverse abilities, ethnicities, and socioeconomic levels learn best inclassrooms where teachers are expert decision makers who are able to effec-tively use available curriculum materials and resources to design productiveinstructional activities that meet the literacy needs of their students. However,preparing new teachers for the complex decision-making they will face inthe classroom is not a simple matter (Bransford, Brown &amp; Cocking, 1999).Recently, new attention has been focused on the nature of teacher educationin reading instruction (Darling-Hammond &amp; Young, 2002).</p><p>Traditionally, teacher education involves a transmission delivery systemcentered on a craft and competency-based model (Alvermann, 1990; Brans-ford, Brown &amp; Cocking, 1999). Such a traditional model relies on lectures,textbook readings, supplementary readings, a series of overheads, and a fieldexperience, and attempts to provide simulations of instructional practicesthrough role-playing or viewing of video tapes of instructional practices(Kinzer &amp; Risko, 1998). Students do not usually see the identified practicesactually used in context-rich or complex situations; rather, the materials oftenpresent imagined scenarios or show lessons taped under pristine conditions.As a result, this commonly-adapted perspective on teacher education deniesstudents opportunities to engage in analysis, reflection, or decision-makingthat enables them to begin thinking like an expert or considering how tomodify the learned procedures in ways that meet differing instructional needsof real children in real elementary classrooms. The weakest link in preserviceteacher education appears to be the translation from knowledge to applied</p></li><li><p>319</p><p>skill in the classroom (Fizgerald, Wilson &amp; Semrau, 1997). Furthermore,the process of making decisions during classroom interactions i.e., whatto teach, when to teach it, and how best to do so is a critical componentof good teaching. However, with respect to all but knowledge instruction,teacher education has remained relatively unchanged over the past 50 years.Pre-service teacher education has ranged from traditional classroom instruc-tion to an apprenticeship model as well as many other approaches elsewherein the spectrum (see Sikula, Buttery &amp; Guyton, 1996; Richardson, 2001 fordiscussion of models). But the preparation has focused primarily on one ofthree areas: content knowledge, knowledge of process and procedures, andknowing when to implement the processes and procedures. Thus, much ofteacher education is limited to increasing teachers knowledge rather thantheir decision-making abilities (see Munby, Russell &amp; Martin, 2001).</p><p>With respect to literacy instruction, many pre-service teachers reportvery little time focused on reading pedagogy in their coursework. Somealso report that they have not encountered a strong mentor or teachersdemonstrating effective practices in literacy instruction (Teale, Leu, Labbo &amp;Kinzer, 2002). And although teacher preparation aims to prepare educatorsboth to understand the content and to make exemplary decisions duringinstruction, in traditional preservice classes it is a challenge to engage incomplex problem solving. Such problem solving environments are criticalfor learning in general and this includes the instruction of literacy (Brown,Collins &amp; Duguid, 1989; CGTV, 1997; Jonassen &amp; Hernandez-Serrano, 2002;Lave &amp; Wenger, 1991). To develop pre-service teachers authentic, complexproblem solving abilities, teacher preparation needs to increase the amountof time their students spend in the company of good teachers instruct them inappropriate decision-making strategies (Teale, Leu, Labbo &amp; Kinzer, 2002).</p><p>Review of literature</p><p>Over the years, researchers have increasingly recognized the influence ofeducational and environmental contexts on learning. Early scientists andphilosophers like Locke and Berkeley argued that nothing existed outside of apersons ability to think and perceive (Boring, 1957). More recently, however,researchers like Vygotsky and Bandura asserted that the environment had amuch greater impact on learning than previously believed (Woolfolk, 1998).Contemporary researchers argue that teaching students how to perform partic-ular skills without regard to context may improve their ability to performthat particular skill but not necessarily help them in other situations wherethat ability can be applied (e.g., Brown &amp; Campione, 1990; Greeno, 1994;Greeno, Collins &amp; Resnick, 1996; Kirshner &amp; Whitson, 1998; Lave &amp;</p></li><li><p>320</p><p>Wenger, 1991). For example, math students may be able to perform calcu-lations while sitting at a desk in the classroom but fail to apply what theyhave learned in a real life situation like shopping or banking. Real-life prob-lems can be incredibly complex because they are situated in dynamic socialcontexts and influence multiple goals, issues and problems. In light of thiscomplexity, theorists have offered several design theories. With respect to theCase Technologies to Enhance Literacy Learning project (CTELL), cognitiveflexibility theory, situated cognition, and anchored instruction are particularlynoteworthy.</p><p>Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson and Coulson (1991) argue that in order forinstruction to be effective, the learning domain must attempt to approx-imate the complexity of the environment where the learning will be used.A complex, ill-structured knowledge domain requires thinking skills noteasily attained in a traditional, non-contextually cued instructional system.Tergan (1997) reminds us, however, that although complexity and multiplecontexts are valuable, it is also important to support the learner during instruc-tion. Understanding does not necessarily result from a complex environmentif a teaching curriculum is employed (Lave &amp; Wenger, 1991). As Laveand Wenger state, a learning curriculum is a field of learning resources ineveryday practice viewed from the perspective of the learners. A teachingcurriculum, by contrast, is constructed for the instruction of newcomers(p. 97). Future teachers are not, in Lave and Wengers sense, newcomers.Rather, they require complex skills to function in a complex environment.</p><p>Extending the view that the environment is a crucial factor in learning,researchers like Brown, Collins and Duguid (1988) and Feiman-Nemserand Remillard (1996) argue that each learner experiences a situation whichserves as the foundation for further learning. According to situated cognition,learning is both situated and contextually cued. Thus, learners not only benefitfrom interacting with an instructional tool, but they also benefit from theprofessor and other classmates. Agents who interact with the environmenthelp develop that environment while they are, in turn, changed as a resultof the interaction. As Greeno (1994) and Shaw, Kadar, Sim and Repperger(1992) argue, learning is best suited in a carefully constructed contextualenvironment guided by the instructional goals, learning contexts, and learnerinteractions.</p><p>Applying tenets of situated cognition, the Cognition and TechnologyGroup at Vanderbilt (CGTV) has successfully used anchor videos as aninstructional tool (CGTV, 1990, 1997). According to CGTV, an anchor isa video segment that functions as a macro-context for the learner. Anchoredinstruction involves the development of confidence, skills, and knowledgenecessary to solve a problem. The anchor itself typically contains (1) a</p></li><li><p>321</p><p>random access feature, through DVD, video disc, or Internet delivery and (2)a careful description of the problem solving environment, and it provides (3)multiple perspectives (Shyu, 1997). Within an anchored instruction model,anchors and the use of random access video provide a deeper context fromwhich mutual experiences are drawn and explored. In the CTELL project,anchored instruction to address important instructional issues: (1) differingstudent backgrounds, (2) the sharing of knowledge between instructor andstudents, and (3) making knowledge accessible rather than inert.</p><p>Many areas of instruction have progressed beyond traditional, lecture-based instructional models, and teachers have begun to explore newmethods.1 Though not new, case-based instructional approaches in educationhave garnered more attention and become increasingly popular over the pastseveral years (see Jonassen &amp; Hernandez-Serrano, 2002; Lundeberg, 1999;Lundeberg, Bergland, Klyczek, Mogen, Johnson &amp; Harmes, 1999; Merseth,1991; Shulman, 1992; Silverman &amp; Welty, 1995). This approach is usefulfor students who will eventually find themselves in a complex classroomenvironment, requiring many decisions not easily learned from a textbookor a traditional, lecture-based instructional environment. In the area of medi-cine, for example, professors may present students with several medical casesand ask for their diagnoses. An advantage here is that students are allowed ahands on, complex learning example that they may draw upon later. Otherprofessions, like law and social services, have also used cases for instruction.In actual practice, each of these professions requires constant decision-making and re-evaluation of current progress. Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobsonand Coulson (1991) note that traditional methods of instruction do poorlyin complex, ill-structured domains like the ones mentioned.</p><p>Researchers have tried to capture the complexity in such domain areaswith the use of various delivery systems. However, Kinzer and Risko (1998)illuminate the differences between print, video, and random access deliverysystems for case-based instruction. They argue that random access video ispreferable to other delivery systems owing to the inherent constraints in othermethods (e.g., that to return to a segment of video tape, one must stop andrewind or that print media lacks some utility in access and analysis). Randomaccess video has the advantage of presenting information in a complex waythat users may view in iterations. Kinzer and Risko assert that repeated view-ings and reflections are crucial for the understanding of a complex contextualenvironment like the literacy classroom.</p><p>Presently, digital presentation techniques involving CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or Internet-based video are methods that both capture the complexityof the classroom and allow for random access functionality. The randomaccess feature of these delivery systems enables students to visit and revisit</p></li><li><p>322</p><p>scenes or segments of the lesson quickly and easily. This capability canbenefit classroom discussion and exploration in a case-based instructionalcontext. This kind of exploration promotes greater understanding of the sub-tle, but important, complexities present in classrooms. Additionally, randomaccess multimedia empowers instructors to break the class into separategroups with separate goals. The process of repeatedly viewing video frommultiple perspectives and goals allows for a richer, deeper understandingof the interaction of factors present in any instructional situation. Usingcognitive apprenticeship as an instructional model, the CTELL cases attemptto at least partially cap...</p></li></ul>