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Student Teachers’ Perceptions of Traditional Observation Versus Virtual Observation

Brandy M. Lynch, Jennifer M. Krause, Scott Douglas


One of the most important stages in preservice teacher training is the student teaching experience. The university supervisor (US) plays an integral role in this developmental stage by maintaining a connection between the cooperating teacher, student teacher (ST), and the university. While the traditional method of observing STs has been found to be effective, universities are seeking alternative means of conducting teaching observations that alleviate time, distance, and financial constraints. One such option is virtual observation through video chat programs. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine STs’ perceptions of the effectiveness and feasibility of virtual observation versus traditional observation in physical education teacher education (PETE). Results showed STs prefer virtual observation with a PE content expert over traditional visits if the US did not have PE content expertise. STs noted technological challenges such as Wi-Fi connectivity and environmental distraction with virtual observation. Benefits of virtual observation include increased ability to hear STs’ interactions with students, improved feedback potential, less travel time, and financial savings. Results of this study suggest that while traditional on-site observation visits are preferred and ideal, virtual observation is a viable alternative when technological challenges are appropriately addressed.

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assessment; supervision; technology

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