New Literacies in Literacy Teacher Preparation: Examining Web-Based Case Use through Deictic Theory

Article excerpt

Through a Deictic Perspective, literacy is viewed as changing and converging with technology (Leu & Kinzer, 2000; Leu, 2006), thus impacting multiple facets of pre-service literacy teacher preparation. The research presented here examines a specific component of the education of teachers for beginning literacy instruction by studying the implementation of video cases via Internet and computer technology.

The present study is couched within Case Technologies to Enhance Literacy Learning (CTELL) (http://ctell.uconn.edu), a large-scale research effort to determine if the use of anchored video cases of effective K-3 literacy teachers in pre-service reading methods courses can (a) enhance pre-service teacher candidates' knowledge of best practices for teaching reading, (b) result in the implementation of these practices in the candidates' classrooms when they become teachers, and (c) foster teachers who teach in ways that positively and significantly affect children's reading achievement (Teale, Leu, Labbo, & Kinzer, 2002; Schrader, Leu, Kinzer, Ataya, Teale, Labbo, Oc Cammack, 2003). These video cases give pre-service teachers virtual access to real classrooms, allowing them to study literacy teaching and explore a classroom by accessing a variety of instructional scenes, samples of children's work, assessment data, and ancillary information about the teacher, students, specialists, parents, and the school principal.

Funded through the Interagency Educational Research Initiative under the auspices of the National Science Foundation, the 5-year CTELL project is focused on developing an approach to the use of cases in literacy teacher education around a central construct-anchored video cases. Anchor cases (Cognition and Technology group at Vanderbilt, 1990) involve sustained, repeated explorations of classroom instructional scenarios that allow pre-service teachers to understand the kinds of learning and teaching situations teachers encounter and the knowledge they use in their decision-making. The cases contain videos of classroom lessons and related materials that serve as a springboard for discussion, as a model, and as a practice tool. The random access capabilities of the Internet and CD technologies let teachers and students retrieve clips of interactions for review and study. Video cases can also provide students with (a) Internet extension assignments as well as class and course readings, (b) an interactive online discussion forum, (c) links to other relevant sites (e.g., experts in the field), and (d) access to supplemental information (e.g., running record sessions, hard copies of testing instruments, lesson plans, and summaries of information about students).

The descriptive inquiry discussed in this paper investigated what happened when four teacher educators used Web-based video case technologies in their preservice literacy methods courses. Specifically the research questions were: 1) How did the use of the Web-based video case technology influence each teacher educator's course curriculum? 2) How did the use of the Web-based video case technology influence each teacher educator's pedagogical approaches? 3) How did each teacher educator influence the use of the Web-based video case technology in her course? and 4) What influenced how each teacher educator used the Web-based video case technology in her course?

Theoretical Framework

The research design for the present study was heavily influenced by Labbo and Reinking's 1999 article that discussed multiple realities involved in negotiating literacy and technology research and instruction. They suggested that when literacy, technology, and instruction intersect, the typical study examines the phenomenon through one theoretical perspective, which, in turn, limits the portrait researchers obtain. In the course of my data collection I found that in order to explore the realities discussed by Labbo and Reinking, multiple theoretical perspectives-Transformational (Reinking, 1995; Reinking, McKenna, Labbo, & Kieffer, 1998), Transactional (Rosenblatt, 1978; Bruce & Hogan, 1998), Deictic (Leu, 2000; Leu, 2006), and Critical (Bromley & Apple, 1999; Kamil & Lane, 1998)-were needed. …