Preparing Teacher Candidates for Virtual Field Placements via an Exposure to K-12 Online Teaching

Tian Luo, Laura Hibbard, Teresa Franklin, David Moore
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 001-014
Aim/Purpose The goal of this project was to determine what effects exposure to online K-12 teaching and learning activities had on teacher candidates’ perceptions of K-12 online learning, how the exposure allowed teacher candidates to reach greater understanding of online pedagogy, and what effect such exposure had on teacher candidates’ aspirations to complete virtual field experiences.

Background With an increasing number of K-12 students learning online within full-time online schools and in blended learning environments, universities must prepare future educators to teach in virtual environments including clinical practice. Before engaging in online field placement, preservice teachers must be oriented to online K-12 teaching and learning.

Methodology Using a design-based, mixed-method research methodology, this study drew samples from four sections of a hybrid technology integration course. Preservice teachers’ papers detailing their perceptions, focus groups, and surveys were used to gauge changes in perceptions of online learning after participating in online teaching and learning activities.

Contribution The study demonstrated that an exposure to online K-12 classrooms stimulated preservice teachers’ interest in online teaching as they began to feel that online education could be equivalent to traditional education.

Findings Students’ perceptions positively improved the equivalency of online learning to traditional schooling, the possibility of positive relationships between teachers and students, and the ability to create interactive learning. Students also reported being more knowledgeable and showed increased interest in participating in virtual field experiences.

Future Research Future research may continue to examine if the exposure course, combined with a short-term clinical experiences and long-term online apprenticeships may serve to prepare graduates with the skills necessary to teach in classrooms of the future.
online teaching, online learning, preservice teachers, online schools, virtual schools
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