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Pedagogical aspects on remote teaching in Sweden

Research project within The Postgraduate School in the Educational Sciences

My doctoral project is about remote teaching in Sweden and pedagogical aspects of that teaching practice.

Head of project

Simon Skog
Doctoral student

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2020-08-03

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Education

Research area

Educational sciences, Pedagogy

Project description

The project is funded by the Department of Education at Umeå University where I am employed, but also partly by the Region Västerbotten. My project is included in a larger research context, a ULF project, to which I will contribute. ULF stands for Development, Learning, and Research, and is initiated by the government to contribute to closer cooperation between practice and research. Thus, my research project is about practical research, and my study object is the remote teaching that place within the collaboration between ten rural municipalities, R10, and which is run and developed by an IT-educators in Region Västerbotten.

In Sweden, remote teaching is regulated in the Education Act and is described as an interactive form of teaching that is conducted with ICT where teachers and students are separated in space but not in time (Education Act 2010: 800). In remote teaching, an onsite facilitator must also be physically present with the students at the time of teaching to provide support and take responsibility for the students during the lesson (Bill 2014/15: 44). However, the responsibility for planning, implementing, and assessing the students' level of knowledge to obtain a basis for grading lies with the teacher's responsibility. The concept of remote teaching can be said to be a political concept because the Education Act specifically regulates and distinguishes remote teaching from other types of asynchronous distance education, and thus has a special regulation that also deals with in which subjects remote teaching is allowed. Right now, it is language, mother tongue, Sami in the Sami school and sign language, as well as to give students study guidance in mother tongue and integrated Sami teaching (Education Act 2010: 800). It is proposed, however, to allow remote teaching from mid-2021 if no teacher meets the school law's requirements for identification and eligibility or if the student base is limited. Remote teaching should also be used for a student who is unable to participate in traditional teaching due to a documented medical, mental, or social problem.

When I approach the teaching practice that remote teaching constitutes, it is thus regulated by the Education Act in such a way that it affects the implementation of teaching. This in turn affects various pedagogical aspects of the implementation in terms of planning, choice of tasks, the possibility of interaction, and so on.

The purpose of my doctoral project is to create a theoretical understanding of remote teaching as a teaching practice and in the light of that understanding empirically study pedagogical aspects concerning the teacher, students, and onsite facilitator. A further purpose is that my knowledge contribution can contribute to a more accessible and equivalent school where remote teaching can form part of the realization of the vision.

The overall research questions are:
- how we can theoretically understand distance learning
- how teachers carry out remote teaching pedagogically
- how students perceive remote teaching
- what role the onsite facilitator has in the teaching and in what way the onsite facilitator can be a pedagogical resource

The implementation of my doctoral project is about four sub-studies and a capstone in which a meta-analysis of the sub-studies will take place. The first sub-study is about trying to develop a theoretical understanding of remote teaching in Sweden that is my study object. The first sub-study is therefore about a theoretical article where I try to develop a theoretical conceptualization through which one can understand the characteristic features of remote teaching as a teaching practice. In the following three sub-studies, the idea is then that I will apply my conceptualization of remote teaching in empirical studies on pedagogical aspects of the teaching practice.

In terms of theoretical perspectives in my research project, it is about a constructivist view of knowledge and a socio-cultural perspective on learning in general. In my analysis, I will therefore use theoretical concepts such as "situated learning", "mediated learning", "constructed learning" to conceptualize and explain pedagogical aspects.