Thanks to @palbion I’m having a chat this afternoon with Chris Dann from the University of Sunshine Coast about a project he’s involved with. Trying to explore and establish if there are some potential synergies there. The following is a summary and some reactions to the paper that “started it all” (Dann and Allen, 2013). The abstract looks like it gives a good summary of the idea

The prevalence of mobile technology in the lives of educators begs the question how they can be best used to improve the formative and summative assessment of pre-service teachers in workplace learning. This paper outlines how one regional university in Australia has developed a purpose-built application for iPhone with a companion web to manage communication between all stakeholders in the pre-service teachers’ practicum. The iPhone has the capability of capturing video, photographic and written data about each criterion at any time. The paper also reports on early research on its suitability. Preliminary results have indicated that the system provides increased support for supervising teachers in their decision-making processes. Pre-service teachers welcomed greater opportunities for enhanced, visual feedback providing ongoing formative feedback and improved capacity for summative assessment. Opportunities for further research and design modifications are explored.

Given the course I teach to pre-service teachers is called “ICTs and Pedagogy” and it includes a three week stint of Work-Integrated Learning (WIL), there’s certainly some potential to explore. Of course, there’s talk of the WIL component disappearing from my course.

The problem

Draws on the literature to suggest three main problems with assessment of WIL

  1. Inconsistencies in summative assessment decision-making.
  2. Little consideration of developing formative assessment to help the pre-service teacher.
  3. A need to increase validity and reliability of school-based assessment of PSTs and helping mentors know what to assess and how to do it.

In my limited experience, there’s also a problem in coming up with a process that minimises the expectations of the mentor teacher.

The authors then mention a related problem faced here, how to grade students. Initially a pass/fail, a move to a five-point graded placement in response to accreditation agencies (interesting that this didn’t happen here), but then problems with that leading to a return to pass/fail. In part because of the difficulty of moderation.

Links to broader WIL literature, including the observation “there are no simple assessment solutions to this holistic experience for students”. Also identifies two categories of assessment

  1. Learning product – e.g. lesson plans – “but these in themselves give no real indication of the worth of the teacher as a practicing professional”.

    The kludge we’re currently using is an assignment that requires the students to reflect on their lesson plans. A small step forward.

  2. performance of a skill – but this is where the inconsistency problem really arises.

The solution

Collaborative, research project to develop the “Pre-service teacher tracker (PTT)”.

Research focus includes

criteria driven by external accreditation; criterion-based assessment processes within WIL courses; supporting documentation delivery and understanding; communication and assessment alignment between university, student and supervising teacher; moderation between pre-service teachers in diverse locations; and the collection of data to enable discrimination between pre-service teachers performance

Each course has different criteria and address different parts of external accreditation.

All stakeholders can see the feedback and progress to help with communication and moderation.

System allows video recording of pre-service teacher actions with the intent to challenge student perceptions of performance. Mentor teacher can add data in the form of video, photos, comments, timelines, strategies, a rating out of 4.

The PTT has an accompanying web inteface/data store.


Supervising teachers of small pilot felt

  • Helped formatively assess and provide feedback.
  • Helped PSTs identify their own skills.

Qualitative data suggests PSTs saw it as useful, if a little challenging.


Dann, C. E., & Allen, B. (2013). Using mobile video technologies to enhance the assessment and learning of pre-service teachers in Work Integrated Learning (WIL). In R. McBride & M. Searson (Eds.), Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2013 (pp. 4231–4238). New Orleans, LA: AACE.

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