With the Level (Linking Pedagogic Expertise through Video Enhanced Learning Scenarios) project, the Goethe University participates in the joint “Campaign for the Quality of Teacher Education” program of the federal and state governments and is therefore part of a nationwide initiative of 49 projects that contribute to the sustainable further development of teacher education.
Level pursues the guiding principle of a more educated and interdisciplinary teacher training as well as a closer interlinking of theory and practice elements with empirical research. The implementation of this idea is guided by the following five objectives:
By interconnecting the involved parties from different disciplines and training phases in the disciplinary cluster groups, which are located at university, the concept of "teacher training from a single cast" is to be promoted. The aim of this is to facilitate a coherent development of knowledge and competences by means of a harmonization of content among teacher trainees and teachers in the preparatory service, thus counteracting the structural effects of fragmentation in teacher training (KMK, 2004; Terhart, 2004).
2. Online teaching videos
To contribute to the harmonization of the content between the training elements – i.e. different professional perspectives as well as the linking of theoretical and practical elements – training formats based on the analysis of teaching videos are developed and established. To this end, the video-based online teaching/learning platform VIGOR (Videographic Online Recorder) is further developed and expanded for use in university teaching, the educational preparatory service as well as the continued education of teachers. VIGOR makes it possible to construct and make available online learning units in which video recordings of school lessons and other teaching and learning situations are combined with tasks and reflection triggers.
3. Blended learning
Using video-based online learning courses, didactic concepts of blended learning, i.e. combinations of e-learning elements and traditional university courses, will be established increasingly in teacher training and continued education. This approach, the use of digital learning formats independent of time and space, enables teacher trainees and prospective teachers in the preparatory service to organize their learning process more flexibly and thus more individually (Dräger et al., 2014).
4. Competence assessment & diagnosis
The use of video-based online learning courses not only allows for a self-directed acquisition of competence in teacher training and preparatory service, but can also be used to assess the professional development in the different training phases: automated or individualized feedback and linkage to digital portfolios help prospective teachers with their self-assessment and, at the same time, allow external assessments by lecturers and instructors.
5. Interdisciplinary research
Fostered by the organizational structure of the project and the use of the video online platform, representatives from the interdisciplinary educational sciences and the subject didactics look at a common objective: questions of professional action in the classroom. Therefore, interdisciplinary research is promoted and the link between research discourse and teaching contents will be strengthened.
Theoretical core concepts
In addition to the above-mentioned structural goals, on the level of individual competence development, the focus of the innovative teaching and learning formats developed within the project lies on the promotion of the professional vision of classes by prospective teachers as well as of their expertise in dealing with heterogeneous learning groups.
According to Van Es and Sherin (2008), professional perception refers to the ability of teachers to use their theoretical knowledge to perceive and interpret meaningful teaching situations characteristically to their profession. Professional vision is seen as an important result of successful competence acquisition in teacher training (Seidel & Stürmer, 2014) and can be facilitated in particular by learning units based on specifically edited video recordings of teaching and learning situations and thus enabling the interpretation of real educational situations based on the theoretical knowledge (see Borko, Jacobs, Eiteljorg & Pittmann, 2008, Seidel & Prenzel, 2007, Seidel, Blomberg, & Renkl, 2013).
Dealing with heterogeneity in educational contexts
Teachers are increasingly confronted with the need to provide adequate learning and development opportunities for children and adolescents, who differ greatly in their personal characteristics and individual backgrounds. Therefore, in the development of the range of didactic concepts within the Level project, the attitude to heterogeneous learning groups or the handling of heterogeneity in educational contexts has a main focus (Hachfeld, Schroeder, Anders, Hahn & Kunter, 2012; Hardy et al., 2011; Kessels, Erbring & Heiermann, 2014, Klieme & Warwas, 2011).