Podcasting, pupils and pre-service-teachers

Souter, Nicholas and Muir, David (2008) Podcasting, pupils and pre-service-teachers. In: European Conference on Educational Research 2008, From Teaching to Learning?, 2008-09-10 - 2008-09-12. (Unpublished)

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This Action Research conforms to Cohen's definition (2000) as "small scale intervention in the functioning of the real world and a close examination of the effects of such an intervention." It is a pilot study that uses a small, but representative group of students with a view to establishing generalisations about the wider applicability of the methods explored. (Burns, 2000, pp. 460-461) The authors examine the use of podcasting - a popular contemporary method of delivering audio content through computers and portable media players. Many rationales for their use in education can be advanced, for example Freedman (2006) lists sixteen reasons including the potential for students to access the podcasts at their own convenience. See also Maag (2006) and Kollar (2006). The study group included six undergraduate, pre-service science teachers who were completing a BSc (Honours) in Bioscience with Teaching. They had previously undertaken course assessments which incorporated presentations to peers and tutors. The pre-service science teachers had already completed block and serial school placements and were considered as being skilled in planning and delivering short presentations as part of their classroom practice. Their presentations had invariably been supported with well constructed and illustrated PowerPoint presentations. The Benchmark Standards for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) (General Teaching Council for Scotland & Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 2006) relate to classroom to whole school standards for ITE in Scotland. They make specific reference to the significance and the expectations for Information and Communication Technology (ICT). ICT is viewed (paragraph 3.1) as a "Core professional interest" and student teachers should be "undertaking a range of approaches to teaching to facilitate the learning of pupils, including the appropriate use of information and communications technology". Also, ICT provides the potential "to contribute to a process of change". Boud (2000) was critical of assessment practices in higher education institutions and suggested "The purposes of assessment should be extended to include the preparation of students for sustainable assessment". Draper and Maguire (2006) explored the use of podcasts in campus based teaching with first year undergraduates in the Re-engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) project. These considerations helped motivate the authors to explore podcasts as a means of promoting sustainable assessment with fourth year undergraduates and consider their potential within professional graduate courses. The research explored the following questions: - Did the process of preparing podcasts extend their professional learning? - Can pre-service teachers deliver a well planned, coherent and well organised presentation to demonstrate their understanding of principles of learning and teaching? - Can pre-service teachers prepare a podcast to describe their own action research findings? Pre-service science teachers found the process challenging and rewarding. Pre-service teachers prepared podcast presentations that described their own action research findings. Pre-service teachers delivered well planned, coherent and well organised presentations to demonstrate their understanding of principles of learning and teaching. The process of preparing podcasts extended their professional learning in a variety of ways - base level technical competence in managing the software; pedagogically in identifying and supporting a teaching and learning resource; and professionally in relation to the Benchmark Standards for ITE. The approach is transferable to further study with a larger group of PGDE pre-service teachers.