G'aim'ing to be a rural teacher? Improving pre-service teachers' learning experiences in an online rural and remote teacher preparation course

Amanda Heffernan, Roderick Fogarty, Elaine Sharplin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Many Australian teachers will spend part of their careers working in small rural schools andcommunities, yet specific preparation for rural and remote teaching contexts during pre-serviceteacher education remains limited. While government reports recommend the use of innovativeand engaging approaches to enhance pre-service teachers’ classroom readiness, the use of suchapproaches to the contextualised preparation of rural and remote teachers has not beenspecifically addressed.In a teacher education program, an innovative place-based pedagogy has been utilised to redesignan online rural education course. A gamified, case-based approach was applied to increase studentengagement and motivation. Preservice teachers are immersed in an online, simulated ruralcontext, where they navigate the experience of appointment to a rural school. This paperdescribes the rationale for the course redevelopment and outlines the design process. Studentcourse feedback pre- and post-development was analysed to evaluate the outcomes achievedfrom the course redevelopment. The findings indicate that student engagement rose after theredevelopment, and critical reflection from the course team indicated that students were moreeffectively able to connect with course themes and project themselves into the position of abeginning teacher in a rural or remote location. While the development of the course is a work inprogress, the initial gamification work has enabled preservice teachers to improve their classroomand community readiness for appointment to rural and remote schools, while exposing them tomodelling of effective and contemporary use of technology and pedagogy which can be appliedto their future classroom contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-62
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian and International Journal of Rural Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • teacher education
  • rural and remote teaching
  • rural education
  • gamification
  • online pedagogy

Cite this