Effective e-teaching practices in the learner-centered virtual high-school classroom: Elizabeth Murphy
Motivation and Theoretical Framework
This five-year study is premised on Haughey's (1997) argument that the teacher is the most essential element of successful secondary schools and that the e-teacher is therefore a pivotal factor in the effectiveness of DE at the high-school level. The e-teacher's practice is vastly different from that of the classroom teacher and requires a shift in pedagogy, practice (Bennett & Lockyer, 2004), different beliefs and methods (Hannafin et al., 2003) as well as an ability to maximize the affordances and minimize the constraints of the technology. Like in the face-to-face classroom, e-teaching practices must be guided by learner-centered principles that support engaging and meaningful opportunities to construct and share knowledge. These principles were articulated in a framework for school redesign and reform and define what "learner-centered" means from research validated in face-to-face classrooms (American Psychological Association [APA], 1993). How these principles might be operationalized in a context of e-teaching has not yet been investigated.
Purpose and Objectives
The purpose of this study is to investigate learner-centered practices in a context of e-teaching at the high-school level. The objectives of the study are as follows:
- Identify, describe and document existing e-teaching practices congruent with the learner-centered principles.
- Identify and describe potential e-teaching practices congruent with the learner-centered principles.
- Evaluate the practices in relation to their effectiveness (in terms of student-learning), feasibility (possibilities and problems), scalability (to other subject areas and teachers) and sustainability (beyond the period of the study).
- Critically appraise the APA (1993) learner-centered principles with respect to e-teaching at the high-school level in this context.
This study will take place within the context of e-teaching in Newfoundland and Labrador where participating teachers will be recruited in the areas of Music, Art, French, Math, Science (Physics and/or Chemistry). The five-year study will adopt a design experiment approach (Brown, 1992; Collins 1992). Design experiments involve formative iterations of evaluate and refine, have a dual focus on theory and practice (Cobb, et al. 2003; Edelson, 2001) and encourage collaboration between the researcher and participants (Collins, 1992). Data collection will involve interviews and focus groups, observations of recorded synchronous classroom interactions, examination of lesson plans, assessment instruments, course web sites in WebCT and e-teacher reflective journals in blog format. Data analysis and structured data collection will be guided by an instrument developed for the study and using the APA learner-centered principles. The iterative cycle of collection and analysis will include teachers designing and implementing, evaluating and refining new practices to reflect the principles. Collaborative evaluation will draw on evidence related to student learning, feasibility, scalability, sustainability.
The outcomes will include learner-centered principles operationalized in terms of high-school, e-teaching practices as well as general recommendations for the design of pre- and in- service teacher training. Specific guidelines, strategies, methods and approaches for e-teaching in the virtual high-school classroom will be documented in video format for dissemination to a wide variety of audiences. Implications for research will be provided in the form of hypotheses that might be investigated in future studies. The study will provide an opportunity to begin building a theoretical foundation for learner-centered e-teaching at the high-school level.
American Psychological Association. (1993). Learner-centered psychological principles: Guidelines for school reform and restructuring. Washington, DC: Author and the Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory. Bellamy, R. (1996). Designing educational technology: Computer-mediated change. In B. Nardi (Ed.), Context and consciousness: Activity theory and human-computer interaction (pp. 123-145). Cambridge: The MIT Press.
Lead Researcher(s): Dr. Elizabeth Murphy.
Main Community Partners: CDLI, School Districts, MUN Faculty of Education.