Falconer & Lignugaris/Kraft Video Conferencing with Student Teachers in Remote Locations

Falconer, K. B., & Lignugaris/Kraft, B. (2002). A qualitative analysis of the benefits and limitations of using two-way conferencing technology to supervise preservice teachers in remote locations. Teacher Education an dSpecial Education: The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 25(4), pp. 368-384.

Summary: The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify the benefits and limitations of a two-way video conferencing technology in supporting the supervision of preservice teachers in rural Utah. The conferencing technology was used to observe preservice teachers and give feedback to them. The technology also offered the capability of cooperating teachers to use a chat function to communicate in real time with the supervisor about the observation without disturbing the students or the preservice teacher. The study used interviews with two practicum students, two student teachers, two cooperating teachers, and one university supervisor as well as field notes from the university supervisor. The participants identified observation benefits, communication benefits, and nature of system benefits. They also identified technical limitations and human factor limitations. Overall, the researchers concluded that the two-way conferencing technology helped the participants meet their individual program needs.

Key Words:  technology, remote supervision, supervision in teacher education, supervision of student teachers, student teachers, field experiences, video conferencing, supervisory conferences


Conceptual Framework: None identified


Research Questions: No identified questions, but they did list the purpose as, “The purpose of this investigation was to field-test two way conferencing technology in a rural field-based teacher preparation program (p. 369).”




Supervisor Field notes



Two student teachers

Two practicum teachers

Two cooperating teachers

One paraprofessional

One university supervisor



  • Benefits of using this technology included supporting the observations and the conversations about the observations. The participants perceived that the technology was easy to use and was less of a distraction to the students and to the pre-service teacher’s authenticity in her practice than a live observation where the supervisor would come in and sit in the back of the room.
  • The technology was appropriate for conversations about student work or to give feedback from the observations. The preservice teachers preferred live visits for demonstrations.
  • “The informants suggested that communication was enhanced in terms of frequency, immediacy, and type of communication (p. 374).”

    • Chat functions allowed the cooperating teacher and the university supervisor to communicate in real time during an observation without disrupting the students or the preservice teacher.
  • Limitations of using this technology were technical in nature and related to human factors. The technical issues included problems with the technology freezing or having to reboot the system at an inopportune time. The fact that the camera limited the view of the classroom was also a technical issue. Human factor limitations included worries that the technology would be removed if it wasn’t used. Participants were also concerned that not many individuals knew how to use the technology.


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