Designing Multimedia Case Studies for Prospective Mathematics Teachers
Bowers, Janet, Doerr, Helen, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia
JI. of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia (2003) 12(2), 135-161
This article describes issues related to the design and research of a multimedia case study for prospective mathematics teachers. In the design section, we discuss three questions to consider when creating a multimedia case, and explore how various other researchers have answered them. In the results section, we describe a survey-based study we conducted that focused on the use of one multimedia case that was used in seven different mathematics methods classrooms across the US. Two overall findings were (a) the most useful and most highly rated feature of the CD was the teacher reflections, and (b) overall, the multimedia case received the highest ratings from students enrolled in courses where the case exploration activities were integrally woven into the course goals.
The use of multimedia-enhanced case studies is slowly emerging as vehicle for supporting the professional preparation of teachers. In the field of mathematics education, researchers including Lampert and Ball (1998), Barron and Goldman (1994), Doerr, McClain, and Bowers (1997), Mousley and Sullivan (1997), and Seago and Mumme (2000) have described the benefits of implementing the multimedia cases they have created. Despite these positive reports, the use of multimedia cases in mathematics education is still rather limited. One reason for this may be that such case materials have traditionally been difficult and costly to produce. For example, in her review of Lampert and Ball's book describing their videocase project, Mousley (2000) noted that the amount of resources needed to create an extensive multimedia data base is "dreamland for most readers" (p. 245). Over the past five years however, the relative low-cost and wide availability of digital video cameras, scanners, and software tools for editing video and assembling materials have made it possible to create smaller-scale multimedia case studies for reasonable amounts of time and money. This potentially enables a greater number of teacher educators to create their own case materials and ultimately helps them contribute to the growing base of materials that can be made widely available to the larger community of teacher educators.
The prospect of developing multimedia case studies for a reasonable price and in a reasonable time frame highlights the need for design criteria and some empirical research describing how these criteria can be implemented in a way that would support the professional development of prospective and practicing teachers. Our goal is to address this need by (a) describing some design issues that could inform researchers and practitioners interested in developing multimedia cases for teacher professional development, and (b) reporting the results of one research study focusing on how one such multimedia case was used by teacher educators and the prospective teachers they taught.
Case Design Issues involved in the Development of Multimedia Cases
The case design issues we describe have emerged over the course of four years as we have engaged in several iterative cycles of developmental research (Gravemeijer, Cobb, Bowers, & Whitenack, 2000) and from our analysis of other design work in the field of mathematics teacher education. Our design team (1) found that the task of conceptualizing a multimedia case study that enables prospective teachers to look at "records of practice" (Lampert & Ball, 1998) begins by considering three intertwined design decisions:
1. What are the instructional goals of the case?
2. What is the scope of the case?
3. Given the instructional goals and scope of the case, what multimedia features can be developed and what artifacts could be included to best reach these goals?
In what follows, we elaborate on these questions by first describing our design decisions and then presenting an analysis of the influence and impact of these design decisions on the use of the case called "Making Weighty Decisions" (Bowers, Doerr, Masingila, & McClain, 2000) by teacher educators at seven different sites.
Design Decision 1. What are the Instructional Goals of the Case?
An analysis of the most prominent multimedia cases for mathematics education that have been developed in the last five years revealed two different approaches for identifying the instructional goals for a project. On the one hand, the mathematical content and/or pedagogical issues can be clearly defined a priori, and then video and artifacts are collected to illustrate these points. Using this define and collect (or capture) paradigm, the developers define the types of events they want to find, and then either choose a classroom so they can prescript or prearrange a given lesson, or search databases of existing video to find ones that illustrate the desired point(s).
One example of a define and collect project is the Math*Ed*Ology professional development program developed by Bitter and colleagues at the University of Arizona (Bitter, 1999). These developers began by defining their instructional goal of creating videos that would feature elementary mathematic teachers modeling the Teaching Standards published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, 1989). Once they had defined this goal, they set out to collect video and artifacts by finding teachers and segments that they felt best represented the essence of the Standards they wanted to highlight.
We can contrast the define and collect approach for developing case studies with what we call the collect and define method wherein developers begin with a general idea about the instructional goals (be they mathematical content and/or pedagogical issues), but they collect video and other classroom artifacts first, and then comb through the data collection to refine their ideas about which teaching and learning issues the data could most successfully highlight.
One example of this approach is the work of Lampert and Ball (1998), which originated with the collection of the "records of practice" of two elementary classes that were taught by the researchers. They began with a vision of collecting the artifacts of practice to create a database of information about the teaching and learning that occurred in their classrooms. Their idea was that this database could be used for investigating real practice by prospective teachers. We call this an example of the collect and define method because the issues were defined as the prospective teachers developed their own questions during their explorations of the materials.
Our approach to identifying the instructional goals of the project can also be called a collect and define approach. Before collecting the video however, we first developed some general goals and a lesson that we thought might illustrate these goals. In particular, we decided that we wanted to make a case that documented the tensions, questions, and challenges that arise in real classrooms. We then chose a classroom, developed a lesson (see Doerr & English, 2001 for an explicit description of the lesson sequence), and collected 4 days of video. After viewing the video, we then revised our general pedagogical goals into three specific instructional goals:
* to develop a case that would provide a way for teacher educators and their students to explore the complexity of the classroom;
* to enable prospective teachers to become better observers of classroom interactions; and
* to help preservice teachers learn to reflect on their own developing practice.
The third instructional goal, encouraging teacher reflection, is perhaps the most unique and, as will be later reported, the most useful aspect of the case. Although we did not know, ahead of time, all of the issues that would arise, we anticipated that listening to the case study teacher's reflections on her teaching would be of great interest to both the teacher educators and the prospective teachers. Hence, we decided to interview the teacher at the end of every lesson and before each new lesson to capture her reflections of the current day and how she planned to revise her lesson plans based on that day's discussions and student work. At the same time, since we were interested in helping prospective teachers become careful and reflective observers, we explicitly decided not to include expert commentary on the case. We felt that …
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Publication information: Article title: Designing Multimedia Case Studies for Prospective Mathematics Teachers. Contributors: Bowers, Janet - Author, Doerr, Helen - Author. Journal title: Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. Volume: 12. Issue: 2 Publication date: Summer 2003. Page number: 135+. © 2007 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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