Digital Support for Teachers Collaborative

Reflection on Mathematics Classroom Situations

Overview

The project coReflect@maths addresses the innovation and exchange of good practice in the field of mathematics teachers’ university education and professional development. The collaborating partners are Ludwigsburg University of Education (coordinator), Freiburg University of Education, University of Oxford, King’s College London, University of Alicante, and the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice. Each of these institutions and the participating scholars contribute to the project with their specific expertise and longstanding experience in the education of prospective mathematics teachers and the professional development of in-service teachers and teacher educators. Due to the different educational systems in the four participating countries, each institution has developed specific courses and programs for facilitating the education of future teachers of mathematics and the professional development of mathematics teachers.

The connecting element between the four universities is their use of innovative course designs involving representations of practice or so-called vignettes as stimulus for the reflection and discussion of real-life contexts and professional requirements related to the mathematics classroom. Vignettes represent classroom scenarios for differing purposes and can be delivered in different formats. For example, vignettes can be used for facilitating learning about content (e.g. promoting teacher discussions of pedagogy for supporting student learning of mathematical contents) and also for promoting professional discussions about other factors that influence student learning in classrooms (e.g. affective, motivational, and behavioural factors). Additionally, vignettes can be delivered as “examples” of practice and classroom situations as either: video clips of a “real-life” situation; cartoons incorporating visuals, dialogue and other information; or as text-based written descriptions of an event. 

Several empirical studies showed that the ability to analyse classroom vignettes is a key prerequisite for successful teaching by supporting reflections on teaching practice against relevant theoretical backgrounds. Depending on the curriculum and learning objective, vignettes can be implemented to facilitate teachers’ professional learning of content related to the teaching of mathematics. The main aim of the project is to bring together and exchange the good practice of vignette-based professional learning established by the four project partners and to enhance further innovation through collaboration. 

In this context, technology-mediated teacher education can be regarded as a highly promising approach as it allows teachers to engage with and reflect on various classroom scenarios in different formats (e.g. text, video, cartoon) and share European classroom culture across borders. However, existing tools in certain vignette formats (e.g. video), can only be used by native speakers and do often not take into account data protection issues, which is a major concern in educational contexts. Consequently, one of the project’s objective is to develop a multilingual digital tool within the Moodle platform to provide a free but secure system to create vignette-based learning environments. The design of this digital tool alongside with supporting material will allow for the creation and sharing of text-based, cartoon-based, and video-based vignettes in four different languages (German, English, Spanish, Czech). 

The development of corresponding course concepts for pre-service and in-service teachers will enable and support participants from different European countries to connect with colleagues, exchange experiences, discuss practice, and learn from each other about different European mathematics classroom cultures. Vignette-based test instruments will be designed and used to evaluate the effect of the developed course concepts. Another output of the project work will be the training and support of teacher educators in using vignettes and the developed digital learning environments in their professional learning activities. Regular transnational project meetings and the collaborative design of multiplier events to disseminate the project outputs are integral to the project. A set of materials in English, German, Spanish, and Czech will be made accessible on this webpage, providing mathematics teacher educators with extensive support for implementing digital learning environements for vignette-based learning in their courses and allowing the products of the project work to be widely disseminated.