The project helped build a number of resources utilised by students before going out on placement on the topic of Child Protection.
The aim of the project was to develop resources and a repository for strengths-based online learning materials accessible by a suite of CSU teacher education. The repository, in the form of an Interact2 site, was developed to contain digital media training resources including an interactive real-life scenario-based simulation to guide and support students through complex child abuse situations and protection decisions that they are likely to encounter in their careers as teachers. The purpose of the project was to evaluate the site and resources for potential future use in teacher education courses in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Charles Sturt University to enhance the child protection preparation of students. Additionally, the evaluation included the possibility of cross-disciplinary applications of the child protection site and resources.
The repository was developed to contain digital media training resources, such as links to child protection organisations, learning modules, discussions forums and counselling/help services. A highlight of the site resources was the development of an interactive real-life scenario-based simulation to guide and support students through complex child abuse situations and protection decisions that they are likely to encounter in their careers as teachers. The site was piloted with the Faculty of Education with Bachelor of Education (birth to five years) research cohort.
Methods for data collection and evaluation were through a mixed method study. Qualitative strengths-based research techniques (Fenton, 2013) such as electronic interviews (EViews) of students and Reference Group members’ responses were used. Additionally, quantitative Learning Analytics tools will generate statistical usage measurements through the Interact2 site (Blackboard platform) to record and help evaluate engagement with resources.
Responses to this project confirm the significant practical and moral demands of child protection for teachers. Importantly, there is strong inter-disciplinary support and willingness to be involved in solutions-based practice in this area. The interactive scenario tool was most highly rated by participants as being a most effective, authentic way of investigating child protection situations and the decisions required as a teacher. Teacher educators were able to scaffold and support students to explore this sensitive and complex area of their practice.
… the extended, interactive strengths approach to child protection preparation assisted pre-service teachers to connect with, understand, develop strategies and act on child protection issues with increased confidence.