Education 
The importance of arts education in primary schools: An audio-visual essay assessment
Kristina Turner
Department of Education
This project involves development and implementation of an innovative approach to assessment in primary initial teacher education core unit EDU40008 Arts Education.
Pre-service teachers’ digital literacy and visual communication confidence and capabilities will be enhanced through the integration of Adobe CC Express into unit content, including an assessment task requiring the creation of an audio-visual essay.
Digital literacy and effective multimodal communication are essential skills for graduate teachers in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course outcomes and Swinburne University Graduate Attributes. This project models authentic assessment practices supporting graduates’ subsequent practice as classroom teachers.
Resources
Shareable teaching and learning resources for this project coming soon!

Problem 
It is essential that during initial teacher education pre-service teachers experience a variety of assessment methods as this will support them to implement a variety of assessment methods in their own classroom teaching practice as graduate teachers. Further, to facilitate pre-service teachers’ engagement in learning, initial teacher education assessment tasks need to authentically represent the knowledge to be learned in a way that is consistent with contemporary teaching practice. An audit of this primary initial teacher education course revealed that written essay assessments are the most frequent assessment type currently used in the course. However, written essays are not a means of authentic assessment in initial teacher education as primary school teachers are not required to write essays. The current assessment in EDU40008 Arts Education requires pre-service teachers to write a traditional essay (50% of the unit mark) which is not authentic to primary school teaching. 

Project Overview 
This project involved development and implementation of an innovative approach to assessment in primary initial teacher education core unit EDU40008 Arts Education to replace a traditional essay with an audio-visual essay. EDU40008 is a core unit in the Bachelor of Education (Primary) and Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Primary) courses and is taught both on-campus and through Swinburne Online. Pre-service teachers’ digital literacy and visual communication confidence and capabilities were enhanced through the integration of Adobe CC Express into unit content, including an assessment task requiring the creation of an audio-visual essay. Digital literacy and effective multimodal communication are essential skills for graduate teachers in the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, the Bachelor of Education (Primary) and Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Primary) course outcomes, and Swinburne University graduate attributes. In addition, this project models authentic assessment practices to support graduates’ subsequent practice as classroom teachers. Importantly, relevant and authentic assessments, such as this one, facilitate pre-service teachers’ active engagement in learning.  

Emergent Outcomes  
Pre-service teachers responded enthusiastically to this assessment task and subsequently reported feeling more confident in using Adobe CC Express to communicate key concepts, knowledge and ideas. They utilised Adobe CC Express to successfully create audio-visual essays which included elements such as videos, images, text, graphics, word clouds and music. Through this assessment task, pre-service teachers were able to demonstrate a range of multi-modal communication strategies and digital literacy outcomes, supporting their efforts toward addressing of the course learning outcomes, Australian Professional Standards for graduate teachers and the Swinburne graduate attributes. The inclusion of Adobe CC Express in this unit and assessment supported pre-service teachers to apply flexible thinking, imagination, creativity, innovation, aesthetic sensibility and self-expression, to convey meaning and information in a way which is not possible in a traditional essay.  

Digital Literacy outcomes   
This project aimed to develop pre-service teachers’ digital literacy and multimodal communication skills, enabling them to support primary school students’ skill development in their own teaching practice after graduation. The project included the development of a Canvas page with links to the Adobe Hub modules and resources, along with sample audio-video essays and information for creating an audio-visual essay. In addition, one of the unit’s face-to -face workshops was conducted with the support of an Adobe Digital Coach and was dedicated to introducing students to Adobe CC Express. A rubric assessment criterion which included the assessment of digital literacy and multimodal communication skills was developed. This project optimised the intrinsic qualities of Adobe CC Express to support pre-service teachers’ technology literacy skills and effective multimodal communication capabilities. In addition, pre-service teachers developed information literacy as they researched and evaluated current literature in arts education. Finally, critical literacy was developed through engagement with digital artefacts, content and ethical considerations.  

Key Learnings  
On reflection I am very pleased with the implementation of this project. The audio-visual essays which the pre-service teachers produced using Adobe CC Express enabled each student to express their individual creativity whilst demonstrating their multimodal communication and digital literacy skills. Adobe CC Express was well suited for application in this Primary Arts Education unit as it enabled the pre-service teachers to authentically engage with creating a Media Arts products. Development of the assessment rubric required several iterations to determine the appropriate balance of marks to be allocated between demonstration of digital literacy and multimodal communication skills and the Arts Education knowledge content. Pre-service teachers expressed enthusiasm at the opportunity to develop new skills and were very appreciative of this authentic assessment.  

Impact (data from student surveys, student feedback, reflections) 
Impact data for this project will be collected by applying phenomenological research methods to explore pre-service teachers’ experience of using Adobe CC Express to create an audio-visual essay in an initial teacher education unit.  
This information will be shared with teacher educators via publication in a peer reviewed journal and conference presentation.   
A pre and post survey of students’ perceptions of their confidence with digital literacy skills, revealed that students felt more confident in their digital literacy skills after completing this project (Mean score 2.25/3) compared to before this project (Mean score 1.90/3). 
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