Examining the Creation of Video Podcasts to Improve the Quality of Mathematical Explanations for Pre-Service Teachers
Abstract: One of the primary skills required by secondary school mathematics teachers is to provide effective explanations to their students. Using Kay’s (2014) theory-based framework for creating instructional video podcasts, this study explored the quality of explanations embedded in mathematical instructional videos created by 37 pre-service teachers (female=26, male =11). Four criteria were assessed for potential strengths and opportunities for growth of mathematical explanations: (i) establishing context, (ii) explanation heuristics (iii) minimizing cognitive load, and (iv) engagement. With respect to context half of the students struggled with identifying key elements of their problem and providing an effective problem label. Regarding effective explanations, a majority of students were able to present and articulate steps required to solve problems, but many failed to use appropriate problem-solving strategies, use visual supports, offer tips for solving problems and identify potential errors. For minimizing cognitive load, most students presented problems in a well-organized clear layout, but many students needed to improve with respect to writing neatly, visually highlighting key areas, and listing key terms and formulas. Finally, with respect to engagement, the majority of students presented their explanations at a reasonable pace, but only half used a clear, conversational voice or offered concise explanations.