For years, mother tongue education pre-service teachers (MTEPSTs) have trained in traditional classrooms in many parts of the world. However, the pandemic has required us to pass over traditional classroom walls. Education through video conferencing has been the primary way of training pre-service teachers mostly. Distance education requires reinterpretation of many issues such as interaction, engagement, classroom atmosphere, and digital identity in teacher training. The virtual classroom attendance, engagement, and digital literacy of MTEPSTs were investigated through the eyes of teacher educators and students to understand the role of video conferencing in teacher training. This research design is a descriptive case study. Research data were collected through interviews from 15 teacher educators and an online questionnaire consisting of open-ended questions from 252 MTEPSTs. Research results indicated that recorded lessons for MTEPSTs outweigh the opportunity for teacher-student interaction in virtual classrooms. The main reasons for the MTEPSTs to prefer recorded lessons are time flexibility and timesaving. The rate (31.75%) of unwillingness due to education, such as monotony, direct instruction method, passive learning, the process that is not measured is at a level that cannot be underestimated. The main reasons for the reluctance to video engage online lessons are the home environment (34.07%), and tatty / unprepared appearance (21.48%). Concern (63.45%) is the main reason for MTEPSTs' reluctance to verbally engage in online lessons. In digital literacy, educators had issues with the inability to produce effective digital content, make an appropriate assessment, and find technical support to produce digital content. On the other hand, regarding MTEPSTs, educators reported problems that are seeing search engines as the only source of information, copy/paste assignments, and inability to use the video conference system effectively. Research results indicated that the deficiency of classroom interaction, distance learning pedagogy, and digital literacy are the main problems in virtual classrooms.
Attendance, engagement, digital literacy, virtual classroom, Turkish teacher training