Brunvand & Fishman Ivestigating the Impact of Scaffolds on Preservice Teacher Noticing and Learning from Video

Brunvand, S., & Fishman, B. (2006-2007). Investigating the impact of the availability of scaffolds on preservice teacher noticing and learning from video. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 35(2), 151-174.

Summary: This study investigated how different types of scaffolds (i.e. predetermined video editing effects like text prompts, hyperlinks, and voice over (thinking aloud)) impacted PST’s noticing and what they learned from video.  These researchers used video effects to focus PSTs on specific, predetermined salient instances in the video. They found that the impact of the scaffolds was dependent upon their alignment with the stated objectives for the use of the video.


Research Specifics:

Sample Size – 41 PSTs

Random Distribution

Science Methods Course

Data: Interviews, observations, and pre-/post- treatment lesson plan artifacts


FINDING: “The results of this investigation indicate that when scaffolds such as onscreen text prompts and teacher commentary are explicitly integrated into video they can have a significant impact on what preservice teachers notice and learn from video. It was also discovered that when scaffolds are presented in this integrated fashion they can influence how participants view videos and make decisions about what notes to record” (p. 172).


NOTE TO SELF – Video is what Schon would refer to as reflection-on-action.


Definition of Scaffolds: “In the context of this research, scaffolds are defined as the various video-editing effects that help focus attention on pre-determined segments of a video” (p. 152).


“One possible explanation for this finding is that members of the IS group were so focused on the two misconceptions highlighted in the treatment videos that they were unable to anticipate other potential problems” (p. 163). MY THOUGHTS – This is an interesting point by the authors and I think it has relevance to the work I am doing on pedagogical skills. It has implications for what happens when we “fix” (I can’t think of the right word right now – it’s too early on Christmas Day  or this cold is really getting to me apparently, so I’m just going to write. Maybe it will come to me), “predetermine”, “purposefully focus”, “stage”, “intentionally focus” others noticing or “professional vision” to our own “professional vision” or what we intentionally notice. Who is to say that one professional vision is more “right” or “better” or are they just different? What value would there be or should their be in novice noticing? To what extent does this relate to constructivist notions of teaching and learning or to more technical-rational notions of teaching and learning? One’s belief system becomes exposed depending upon your position on this issue.


“From these results it appears that members of the IS group were influenced more significantly by the scaffolds in what they chose to record in their notes, at least as it relates to these specific strategies” (p. 167).


“These findings revealed that the IS group showed significantly more growth in their recognition of the identified strategies and misconceptions than the other two groups, a difference that could presumably be attributed to the availability of scaffolds in the videos viewed by the IS participants. In particular, the presentation of onscreen text prompts as opposed to just static text was a more effective way to draw attention to, and provide a vocabulary for, certain classroom interactions” (p. 169). 


“This suggests the possibility that the presentation of certain scaffolds in the IS videos allowed members of that group to better retain what they learned and noticed from the videos and makes a strong case for the inclusion of explicit scaffolds, such as onscreen text and teacher narration, in the design of future video-based PD” (p. 169).


“A companion finding worth noticing at this point is the fact that the Integrated Scaffolds (IS) group also showed a significant decrease in the number of additional potential misconceptions students might encounter during the lever investigation. In other words, with respect to the misconceptions stated, the IS participants narrowed their focus specifically to the distance measuring and mechanical advantage problems depicted in the treatment videos and didn’t anticipate many other problems beyond those” (p. 169).


“When you create scaffolds that intentionally draw attention to something, they inadvertently draw attention away from other potentially important interactions” (p. 170). MY THOUGHTS – I think this statement and the afore-noted finding is interesting because it has implications for what can happen when we intentionally focus others’ noticing. We lose or forego opportunity to see what may arise if we did not intentionally focus. I also think there are instances when intentionally focusing is necessary and times where intentionally focusing my not be necessary.


“It’s simply worth noting that, judging by the content of the treatment notes, the presentation of scaffolds for the IS group was more effective at getting participants to focus on and record issues surrounding the practice of teaching” (p. 171).


“Video is an effective way to provide teachers with the opportunity to observe specific classroom interactions so that they can develop their professional knowledge and witness firsthand the application of pedagogical theory in a practical setting” (p. 172).



“Channeling” and “Focusing”:

Pea. R. D. (2004). The social and technological dimensions of scaffolding and related theoretical concepts for learning, education, and human activity. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(3), 423-451.

“Contiguity Theory”

Mayer, R., Moreno, R., Boire, M., & Vagge, S. (1999). Maximizing constructivist learning from multimedia communications by minimizing cognitive load. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91(4), 638-643.