Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Using Content Acquisition Podcasts to Improve Teacher Candidate Knowledge of Curriculum-Based Measurement

Academic journal article Exceptional Children

Using Content Acquisition Podcasts to Improve Teacher Candidate Knowledge of Curriculum-Based Measurement

Article excerpt

Perhaps at no other time has teacher preparation been under such scrutiny and held to such high standards. To illustrate, teacher preparation programs are challenged to develop, adopt and consider efficient methods to train teacher candidates to understand and implement evidence-based practices for teaching and supporting students with exceptionalities (Maheady, Smith, & Jabot, 2014). The end goal is for teacher candidates to master a critical corpus of evidence-based practices that will be implemented with fidelity such that future K-12 students will benefit (Brownell, Griffin, Leko, & Stephens, 2011). Although this goal may seem obvious, there is a body of research demonstrating that many teachers emerge from their preparatory programs without sufficient skills needed for success (see Brownell, Sindelar, Kiely, & Danielson, 2010). This is corroborated in part by negative outcomes for many students with exceptionalities across academic and social domains of interest and multiple decades.

To address critical training needs, researchers in the field of special education and teacher education are charged with developing and testing interventions to support teacher quality and preservice student learning. However, the field has not been overwhelmed by voluminous amounts of rigorous research to guide the practice of teacher educators (Leko, Brownell, Sindelar, & Murphy, 2012). Some specific limitations include limited use of theory and theoretical models to inform practice (Sindelar, Brownell, & Billingsley, 2010); few systematic and sustained programs of research (Leko et al., 2012); and sparse longitudinal studies of how experiences in teacher preparation result in short-, medium-, and long-term teacher success as measured by K-12 student learning (Sindelar, Bishop, Brownell, & Rosenberg, 2005). It is therefore important to conduct research in the field of teacher preparation that meets high standards for quality of research in order to determine which practices lead to improvements in preservice knowledge and application.

In this article, we present information on the results from an experimental trial of a multimedia-based instructional tool called content acquisition podcasts (CAPs). We discuss features of CAPs research that demonstrate high-quality implementation, including the need for interventions in teacher preparation to be (a) grounded in appropriate theory, (b) used in a systematic program of empirical research, and (c) able to deliver high-quality instruction for topics within special education that all teacher candidates need to know. The content packaged and delivered by CAPs in this study was curriculum-based measurement (CBM), which is an evidence-based practice in the field of special education and should be part of every teacher's repertoire.

CAPs

From 2011 to date, there have been 12 published empirical studies of CAPs' effectiveness for improving teacher candidate knowledge (Driver, Pullen, Kennedy, Williams, & Ely, 2014; Ely, Kennedy, Pullen, Williams, & Hirsch, 2014; Ely, Pullen, Kennedy, Hirsch, & Williams, 2014; Hart & More, 2013; Hirsch, Kennedy, Haines, & Thomas, in press; Kennedy et al., in press; Kennedy, Driver, Pullen, Ely, & Cole, 2013; Kennedy, Ely, et al., 2012; Kennedy, Hart, & Kellems, 2011; Kennedy & Thomas, 2012; Kennedy, Thomas, Aronin, Newton, & Lloyd, 2014; Sayeski, Kennedy, Clinton, de Irala, & Thomas, 2015). CAPs differ from traditional podcasts in that they are relatively short (approximately 5-15 min), multimedia-based vignettes that use Mayer's cognitive theory of multimedia learning (CTML; Mayer, 2009) and 12 evidence-based instructional design principles (Mayer, 2008) to package and deliver high-quality instruction on any topic. The term podcast is utilized in this work because of many users' familiarity with and acceptance of podcasting as a valued instructional tool in higher education (Evans, 2008; see Kennedy, 2014, for a sample CAP). …

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