The Vignette TaBLE: Team-Based Blended Learning Experiences With Classroom Mentors and Teacher Candidates

The Vignette TaBLE: Team-Based Blended Learning Experiences With Classroom Mentors and Teacher Candidates

Susan Elwood (Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, USA), Robin D. Johnson (Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, USA) and Cary Perales (Corpus Christi Independent School District, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3949-0.ch014
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Abstract

This chapter investigates the research and recommendations regarding the collaborative design of the joint, flipped-instruction micro-learning vignettes for classroom mentors and teacher candidates regarding promising practices of flipped instruction within a mobile learning environment. The focus of the chapter relates to pedagogies that incorporate active learning within mobile technologies that are most likely to enhance meaningful learning. The Vignette Team-based, Blended Learning Experience (TaBLE) will be presented, based upon its research-based rationale, design, preliminary results, and future implications.
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Introduction

Setting the Vignette TaBLE

Travelling through Metrocity provides a view of a city with a growing population (approximately 324,000 in 2015) in a diverse industrial city with two military installations and large economic activity in health services and oil development. Its claim of being the second largest growing city in the state’s region is evidenced by the continuous growth seen throughout the city in terms of economic and housing developments.

This predominantly Hispanic region of the U.S. serves over 38,000 K-12 students at 60 campuses, including 38 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, and 5 high schools structured as five vertical learning communities with coordinated curricula. Generally speaking, classrooms still have three to five desktop stations in each classroom, a smart board, and some type of access to Google Chromebooks or iPads as of this writing. Other technologies do exist within the district, but technology equipment accessible to all classrooms is the focus for Vignette TaBLEs.

Metrocity’s local university is a federally designated Minority-Serving Institution (MSI) and Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). It is a four-year university with enrollment of more than 12,000 students (95% from the state, 48% from the local region). More than 70% of students receive financial assistance, 75% work full or part-time, and 63% graduate in six or fewer years. One of the colleges within the local university is the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD).

Building Relationships Around the Vignette TaBLE

Strategic partnerships between the COEHD and primary local school district have been formed and nurtured for several decades, as evidenced by the fact that most of the teachers in the local and surrounding school districts graduated from the local university. The school-university partnership has a rich history of relationship building based upon shared needs in developing greater learning experiences for their respective K-12 students and teacher candidates as students. Shared promising practices for technology integration have been part of that relationship building process.

Relationship building in the past for the partnership was primarily based upon 1-1 interactions between the site professor and professionals at each school site. Therefore, each partnership’s level of technology integration was highly dependent upon the immediate student leadership and modeling. Lack of district technology funding at the time led to variances in technology integration approaches and practices, which created quite the variety in possible technology integration scenarios at each of those sites.

Due to the volume of teacher candidates at the sites and personal workload, the need for a mostly online hybrid course design for the one-credit course emerged. These culminating observations and needs created many challenges for the lead author’s quest in integrating current technology practices within a cohesive, one-credit course experience for all her teacher candidates among the various site professors’ partnership sites. Doing so through flipped instruction regarding key concepts was imperative to the teacher candidates’ success in visioning technology-integrated activities through research-based frameworks. These frameworks were also adopted by the major local school district.

Recently, the main local school district committed more district technology office and staff funding to once again support teachers and students. Educators within the district have therefore seen greater training integrating the frameworks through the district’s instructional technology office. Supporting both preservice and inservice educators with training and guidance while using these frameworks in field experiences is vital to the partnership. The Vignette TaBLE is a product of collaborative efforts in determining the best research-based framework to provide both teacher candidates and their inservice mentors.

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Background

Mishra and Koehler’s (2009) Technology and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK), Tool Features and Affordances, and Puentedura’s (2010) Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition (SAMR) frameworks are at the core of the Vignette TaBLE’s research-based framework that guides the teacher candidates’ planning and related conversations with the campus-based mentor. The team-based learning experiences framework described by Michaelsen and Sweet (2008) provides the necessary framework for the flipped-instruction, blended learning delivery style portion of the field-based course.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Classroom Mentors: Classroom teachers who serve as mentors to university teacher candidates.

Teacher Candidates: University teacher education students in their field-based semester prior to student teaching or in their student teaching semester.

Flipped-Instruction: The process of reversing the flow of the traditional classroom. Students learn about the new content on their own using pre-selected lectures, or other resources that explain the content. The students then spend the classroom time on assignments or projects based on the content with their teacher present and able to assist as needed.

Vignettes: Updating a learner’s technological and pedagogical knowledge base through micro-learning efforts in combination with preservice and inservice teachers ( Crawford & Semeniuk, 2017 ).

Meaningful Learning: The opposite of rote learning (memorizing facts without regard to their connection to the whole concept) and refers to the method of learning where new knowledge acquisition is related to prior knowledge. It is based in the theory that connected learning facilitates the recall of all information grouped together in the learner’s brain.

Micro-Learning: A process of delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts (Eades, 2015). Its main traits are that it is short, cuts out extraneous text, and presents specific information directly related to the tasks at hand.

TPACK: Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) was introduced to the educational research field as a theoretical framework for understanding teacher knowledge required for effective technology integration with regard to technology, pedagogy, and content ( Mishra & Koehler, 2006 ).

Mobile-Learning Environment: Using mobile technologies, such as portable computing devices with wireless network access (smart phones, tablets, and laptops) to enable the teaching and learning process to go beyond the traditional classroom.

Team-Based Learning: An evidence based collaborative learning teaching strategy designed around units of instruction, known as “modules,” that are taught in a three-step cycle: preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and application-focused exercise. A class typically includes one module (Team-Based Learning, 2017).

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