Publications

Virtual internships in blended environments to prepare preservice teachers for the professional teaching context

Theelen, H.; Willems, M.C.; Beemt, A. van den; Conijn, R.; Brok, P. den

Summary

This study investigated to what extent virtual internships in teacher education were able to reduce Preservice Teachers’ (PSTs) professional anxiety. Simultaneously, this study investigated how virtual internships in blended learning environments were evaluated by PSTs in terms of technological, social and educational affordances. PSTs followed virtual internships during two different Educational Pedagogy Master’s courses (27 and 16 participants) in a teacher education programme. A mixed methods design was employed, consisting of pre‐ and post‐test questionnaires, a focus group interview and individual interviews. A significant decrease was found in PSTs’ professional anxiety after having followed Virtual Internship 2. PSTs reported they obtained a more realistic image of teaching and felt better prepared for teaching in practice. Furthermore, regarding technological affordances, system usability was considered between acceptable and good. Concerning social affordances, PSTs appreciated collaboration within the virtual internships. As an educational affordance, it appeared that learning from videos with authentic classroom events is a good preparation for the professional teaching context. According to the PSTs, the scenarios within virtual internships could be improved in terms of authenticity and personalisation by offering more details and background information. The results of this study imply that virtual internships can be useful assets for teacher education