Marcia Rock et al Evaluation of Bug-in-Ear Technology

Rock, M. L., Gregg, M., Thead, B. K., Acker, S. E., Gable, R. A., & Zigmond, N. P. (2009). Can you hear me now?: Evaluation of an online wireless technology to provide real-time feedback to special education teachers-in-training. Teacher Education and Special Education, 32(1), pp. 64-82.

Summary: This study used mixed methods to determine whether an online wireless technology could be used to give preservice teachers real-time feedback. The pre-service teacher in special education wore a wireless, Bluetooth device. While teaching, the university supervisor gave real-time feedback to improve preservice teachers’ use of praise, redirection, and reprimands. They found that the technology was practical and efficient in providing immediate feedback. Preservice teachers, although initially apprehensive, reported positive experiences with the technology.

Key Words: technology, supervision as telling, feedback, immediate feedback, student teaching, field experiences, supervision in teacher education, university supervisor


Conceptual Framework: Feedback is powerful and important in supporting preservice teachers growth and development.


Research Questions:

  1. Can recent advances in technology be incorporated to enhance the capacity of tradition Bug-in-Ear (BIE) technology?
  2. How long does the device need to be used to overcome mechanical or technological issues?
  3. Are there any differential effects on the behavior of experienced versus novice teachers?
  4. How does use of BIE technology affect student learning?



Mixed methods

Sequential explanatory strategy

2 out of 4 of each participant’s video-recorded BIE observations, one of three without feedback and one with feedback

Participants’ written reflections on the experience



15 of 17 preservice teachers



  • Participants reported initial apprehension to using the BIE technology. After use, these concerns diminished.
  • Participants felt that their students were more engaged and had better academic performance during BIE sessions.
  • “Qualitatively, teachers reported that the BIE device and feedback did not negatively affect instruction; in fact, trainees asserted that the feedback was extremely useful in bridging the gap between research and practice (p. 75).”
  • “We found that the supervisor (i.e., the first author) used encouraging or instructive feedback most frequently and used questioning feedback less often (p. 75).”
  • “In our study, the positive impact on teacher behavior was seen in statistically significant increases in participants’ use of high-access instructional practices (i.e., choral and nonverbal choral response, partner strategies, and cloze reading) and teacher praise, as well as in the trainees’ statistically significant decreased use of low-access instructional practices, such as hand raising and round-robin and teacher read-alouds (p. 76).”


Additional Key Passages: