Engaging preservice primary and preprimary school teachers in digital storytelling for the teaching and learning of mathematics

A significant criticism made of preservice teacher education is that it fails to prepare teachers in such a way that they would feel confident in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in teaching, despite the assumed digital literacy of student-teachers and the children they will eventually teach. New technologies have enabled multimodal design and digital storytelling in meaning-making and communication and are now often instrumental and influential in shaping students' social practices and identities. The purpose of this study was to explore an integrative approach in applying ICT in learning with specific reference to the formation of mathematics teaching capability in preservice teachers. It takes into consideration student-teachers' lived experiences when introducing ICT supported learning into their classrooms as well as their exposure to related university courses such as educational technology, special didactics of mathematics and mathematics. This paper describes the instructional design framework and assessment criteria for mathematical problem solving and digital storytelling introduced to an ICT course for student-teachers. Based on the analysis of pre- and posttesting of the subjects' capabilities and reports of their perceptions, it is suggested that preservice teachers can efficiently develop their content knowledge in mathematics problem solving and that an integrative approach such as that described here may facilitate both mathematical problem-solving competences and pedagogical competences for applying digital storytelling in solving mathematical problems. The cohort of preservice teachers had no prior experiences of digital storytelling or multimodal design and perceived them as new practices. Their conceptions changed during the course from the passive recipients to active producers of media content. They demonstrated reflection relative to learning-by-design and representation modelling. They perceived digital storytelling as a strategy and means for empowering the “student-voice” and the active construction of knowledge. The findings of the study contribute to preservice teacher education indicating that an integrated approach of instruction that deploys digital storytelling and multimodal design can help facilitate preservice teachers' pedagogical competencies and mathematical content knowledge.

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