Virtual reality as the catalyst for a novel partnership model in initial teacher education: ITE subject methods tutors' perspectives on the island of Ireland

Pamela Cowan*, Rachel Farrell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This small-scale study explores the attitudes of fifty initial teacher education (ITE) subject methods tutors towards the use of virtual reality (VR) in education and considers whether VR could be a catalyst for reviewing the partnership model within ITE programmes. In addition, this study offers a novel solution to ITE tutors’ challenges when managing their own technological and pedagogical development alongside preparing student teachers for technology-enhanced learning (TEL). Building on previous research on ITE tutors’ use of TEL across the island of Ireland, this paper discusses the synergy between the cognitive apprenticeship model and reverse mentoring that upends the classic co-operating teacher/student teacher hierarchy and positions all partners in ITE programmes as learning leaders at key points in the partnership process. An online survey comprising 51 items was administered to a purposive sample of 50 ITE tutors from four ITE providers, two in Ireland and two in Northern Ireland (NI), who were selected due to their developing interest in the use of virtual reality in teacher education. Data analysis using SPSS combined with thematic analysis of open-ended responses revealed that although the majority of ITE subject methods tutors conveyed open-minded and willing attitudes to embrace VR in the future, they identified a number of systemic issues that need to be addressed first. These include the disconnect between innovative pedagogical practices presented in university-based modules and the stark reality of technological deficits in some classrooms; the pedagogical and resource-based ‘readiness’ of ITE tutors to embed VR in their subject-specific teaching; and the need for curriculum-focused, VR resources for school-based use. As a result of this study, an incremental, cyclical approach to growing the body of knowledge around VR pedagogy is proposed in conjunction with new forms of collaboration between the partners in ITE.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Number of pages18
JournalEducation Sciences
Volume13
Issue number3
Early online date21 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Article
  • cognitive apprenticeship
  • pre-service teachers
  • reverse mentoring
  • teacher education
  • virtual reality

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