Teachers as Designers: Pre- and In-Service Teachers Authoring of Anchor Video as a Means to Professional Development

Petrosino, A.J. and Koehler, M.J. (2007). Teachers as designers: Pre- and in-service teachers authoring of anchor video as a means to professional development. In Goldman, R., Pea, R., Barron, B., & Derry, S. (Eds.) Video research in the learning sciences. Mahwah, NJ: LEA.

In this article, the authors present three cases in which pre- and in-service teachers were asked to author their own anchor videos. This work in effect marries the possibilities inherent in “new technology” with the promise of anchored instruction to provide potentially compelling strategies for reinterpreting the notion of apprenticeship and teacher education.

Historically, anchor videos were prepackaged for teachers. “But prepackaging also made key ideas such as curriculum design, coordination with state and national standards and finding engaging multi-step problems unproblematic to the teacher-learners.”

“…if teacher-learners are not taught and encouraged to design their own curricula, they can have little or no ownership, responsibility, or voice in the curricula process. Traditionally, in Colleges of Education across the country, curriculum and teaching have been separated. Teacher-learners are not given opportunity to create curriculum, only instruction on how to enact it. The role of design, so prevalent in the development of learning environments, has rarely been accessible to teacher-learners in any meaningful manner (Goldman-Segall, 1998).

Nice recap of anchored instruction:

  • Technology-based learning approach that stresses the importance of placing learning in a meaningful, problem-solving context
  • Uses context as a learning device
  • Anchor refers to the bonding of the content within a realistic and authentic context

Project-based instruction — engaging learners in exploring authentic, important, and meaningful questions of genuine concern to students.

Criteria for a quality “driving” questions (Krajcik et al., 2002):

  • worthwhile (i.e., promotes higher order thinking)
  • feasible (i.e., students can design and perform investigations to answer the question),
  • contextualized (i.e., related to real-world problems), (d) meaningful (relevant to learners’ lives)
  • open ended (a complex problem with multiple solution paths)

Design principles for the creation of the anchor video include a narrative structure to the story, a generative design to the story that allows the user to develop their own problem solving strategy, embedded data, a complex problem involving multiple steps to mimic real-world problem solving, and the use of digital video to make the complexity manageable (CTGV, 1990; Goldman et al., 1996).

In the Literacy Instruction case study, students were asked to document any “aha! experiences” as they completed the assignment. “Aha! moments are perhaps the most rewarding experience in this approach —they represent times in which the material suddenly came together, suggesting it was not well understood before using the IVAN case.”

[This relates to Bransford et al.’s article on anchored instruction: “Problem-oriented acquisition helps students appreciate the value of information” (p.121). It’s important for people to experience changes in their perception and comprehension of situations [as they acquire new bodies of information] in order to increase the likelihood that they will value new perspectives (p.122). The lesson also seems to draw from cognitive flexibility theory, since the class is expected to share the multiple (and varied) understandings and perspectives brought by different groups.]

Goals of educational technology courses:

  1. Learn technology skills and concepts that are likely to persevere beyond the newest version of hardware and software (e.g., the concept of a file format—.gif, .jpg, etc.)
  2. Appreciate the reciprocal relationship between teaching and technology: Technology changes what students can teach and how they can teach it. Likewise what (and how) students teach impacts the technology used.
  3. Teach students “how to learn” about technology. To relieve teachers from becoming constantly updated (and retrained) via workshops, teachers would do well to learn how to learn a new piece of technology on their own (or with colleagues). This means learning that failures, trying out new ideas, exploring interfaces, and consulting other resources are part of the process.
  4. Encounter technology in authentic contexts in which multiple technological and educational concepts are tied together.
  5. Encounter new ideas in education. What is the point of an educational technology program in which students learn nothing about education?

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