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Improving the preparation of teachers through the use of emerging technologies Michael Barnett Boston College.

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Presentation on theme: "Improving the preparation of teachers through the use of emerging technologies Michael Barnett Boston College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Improving the preparation of teachers through the use of emerging technologies Michael Barnett Boston College

2 Structure of the talk Introduction What is known about electronic PD: A review The Inquiry Learning Forum ILF Research

3 Introduction: The challenge of PD Calls for reform of teacher professional development programs  Even the most exemplary TPD programs struggle to maintain support over time (Carey & Frechtling, 1997)  Traditional PD Underused by teachers or insufficient time  Lack of mechanism that facilitate sustained sharing and access to distributed expertise  On-going, during the school year that take into account the contextual needs of teachers (Darling- Hammond & McLauglin, 1995)

4 Introduction cont... New models of TPD are emerging that leverage electronic networking technologies (Dede, 2006, Barab, et al., 2001; Marx, et al., 1998) What are the weaknesses and challenges of leveraging electronic networks for teacher professional development? What have we learned about the design and implementation of TPD programs that leverage electronic networking technologies?

5 Structure of the talk Introduction What is known about electronic PD: A review The Inquiry Learning Forum ILF Research

6 What is known about Electronic PD? Studies were then examined searching for general themes  Networking technologies can reduce teacher isolation and support sharing  Networking technologies can foster reflection on practice  Networking technologies influence teaching practice  Networking technologies support the formation of communities of practice

7 Theme #1: Reduction in teacher isolation and sharing Electronic networking technologies appear to create favorable conditions for collaboration and sharing  Rural teachers and teachers in isolated situations  Teachers who participate in such programs have more favorable perceptions concerning the use of networking technologies for their students  Used mainly for moral support Some for collaborative curriculum development and sharing of teaching strategies

8 Theme #2: Reflection on Practice Research is mixed concerning the power of electronic networks to support reflection  Significant use focused on moral and emotional support (Gunn, 1995; Roddy, 1999 )  Pre-service settings messages content influenced by receiver rather than being reflective (Thomas, Clift, Sagurmoto, 1996) Reflective exchanges occur between faculty and students not between students  Studies have shown that reflective thought more common than in face-face setting (Hawkes, 2001)

9 Theme #3: Influence on Teaching Practice Administrative support critical (Sunal & Sunal, 1992) Surveys (self-reported) reveal that teachers who participate do feel they are more innovative (Lehman, Campbell, & Campbell, 1992) On-line mentors support deepening understanding of how to implement innovative teaching strategies (Bliss & Mazur, 1996) Generally, electronic networks have been useful in helping teachers to think about their practice, but impact on actual practice has yet to be examined in any great detail

10 Theme #4: Communities of Practice Few projects are investigating how to developing on-line communities of practice TAPPED-IN (Schlager, Fusco, & Schank, in press)  Need a critical mass  Need discussions about actual classroom practice  Long and time consuming process SENCo (Special Needs Coordinators forum)  On-line forums used primarily for emphatic exchange rather than the formation of community

11 Conclusions: What we have learned Electronic networks have shown great potential, some guidelines are emerging  Ability to locate mentors or others with similar interests  Work in collaborative small and diverse groups  Collaborative sharing (not one-way)  Encouragement of sustained and focused discussions  Reflection on actual practice  Development of trust and sense of continuity and community

12 Conclusions: What we have learned Have convenient access to computers and be comfortable in using the networking technology Believe that the discussion has immediate relevancy to their teaching and their students’ learning The on-line discussions be focused so that teachers feel that their time is being well spent (this is particularly important for time-strapped in-service teachers) The electronic network has social supports in place that encourage newcomers as well as experienced users of the network to not only engage in but also sustain longitudinal discussions

13 Implications: Needed Research How and in what does participation in an on- line professional development program influence teaching practice? When teachers use an electronic network what do they hope to gain from participation? Design research is needed on how to design tools that promote reflection What constitutes the formation of an on-line community?  How to maintain such a community?

14 Structure of the talk Introduction What is known about electronic PD: A review The Inquiry Learning Forum ILF Research

15 Examples of on-line PD

16 What is the ILF? National Science Foundation funded project for math and science teachers A web-based professional development system designed to support a community  in-service and pre-service mathematics and science teachers  share their beliefs about inquiry and their experiences in implementing reform-based practices ILF centers around the vision of a community  teachers can virtually visit each other's classrooms by viewing streaming video vignettes of other teachers’ actual classroom teaching (Barab, Makinster, Moore, et al, 2001)

17 Theoretical Underpinnings Research on learning from anthropological frameworks has pointed out the critical role of the community within which learning occurs (Lave, 1988; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998). Lave and Wenger (1991) used the term “communities of practice” to illuminate the importance of activity in binding individuals to communities, and in communities to legitimize and support the development of individual skills and practices Over the past decade, many teacher educators have grown dissatisfied with the traditional individualistic approach to teacher education and professional development.  sparked a number of efforts to transform existing teacher professional development programs into communities of learners (Barab, Barnett, & Squire, in press; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Thomas, Wineburg, Grossman, & Myhre, 1998).

18 Theoretical Underpinnings One-time workshop, class, or seminar is unlikely to result in significant, long-term change in teachers’ practice and belief systems (Richardson, 2001). Teacher change requires multiple opportunities to learn, to practice, and to interact with other teachers and educators reflecting on and inquiring into their own practice and beliefs (Gess-Newsome, 2001).  opportunities to reflect not only during the summer but throughout the year (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995) Our research and instructional design efforts have revolved around the need  to create a web-supported professional development system that would support extended and long-lasting relationships and interactions.  support both pre- and in-service teachers in learning how to implement inquiry instruction in their respective contexts. Our perspective is that TPD experience is more likely to be effective and long lasting if the teachers are supported in building vital relationships with each other, education faculty, faculty in the sciences, and have a voice in their own professional development (Ingvarson, 1998; Keys & Bryan, 2001).

19 ILF Design Commitments Building on these theoretical foundations Foster Ownership and Participation  A varied community of professionals Focus on Inquiry  Inquiry pedagogy and practice Visit the Classroom  Video-streaming of real-world classrooms Support Communities of Purpose  Bring together groups of teachers organized common and shared experiences

20 Participant Structures Support and encourage on-line dialogue and collaboration  ILF classrooms K-12 math and science classrooms Watch video vignettes of classroom teachers Supporting materials including  Teacher reflections  Student work  Links to standards

21 Participant structures: Classroom(s) 6-8 video clips Other resources Reflections Student work Standards Resources Discussion forum(s)

22 Participant structures: Collaboratory Virtual space where groups of teachers can come together around some collective experience or interest

23 Participant structures: Forums Asychronous Discussion forums for sharing and reflecting on inquiry-based teaching practices and strategies

24 Participant Structures: Others Library Lounge

25 Some Research on the ILF

26 Structure of the talk Introduction What is known about electronic PD: A review The Inquiry Learning Forum ILF Research

27 Background: Science Teaching... Pre-service teachers need the opportunity to reflect on and observe inquiry-based teaching during their methods courses (NRC, 1996) Field experiences  Lack of inquiry-teaching occurring in elementary classrooms Lack of comfort with science (64% of teachers not familiar with the NSES) (Horizon, 2002)  Can be mis-educative (Calderhead, 1988, Feinman-Nemser & Buchman, 1985)  Student teaching experience may not alter beliefs about teaching (Munby & Russell, 1992) Electronic networks ( Thomas, Clift, & Sugimoto, 1996) Teleapprenticeships (Levin & Waugh 1998) Web-supported Professional Development (Schlager & Schank, 1997) Digital media videos to support reflection (Abell, et al., 1996; Flake, 2002)

28 Study Context Pilot Study  Use of the ILF  Use of data gathering instruments (ITB) A collaboration between  1 class of elementary science methods students  27 female, 1 male  Dual certification elementary and special needs  11 in-service teachers The pedagogical foundation of our collaboration was to facilitate discussion  about inquiry-based teaching strategies  examine teacher practice  reflect on pedagogical beliefs  provide our students with the experience of viewing teachers implementing inquiry-based instruction

29 Instructional Activities Students watched two specific ILF elementary science classrooms  Two-weeks +  Scaffolding questions  Interactions with participating teachers Discussions on special topics  How children learn science?  What is inquiry? Teach a lesson in their placement that was inquiry- oriented

30 This study: The Questions What are pre-service teachers beliefs regarding inquiry-based instruction? How do in-service and pre-service teachers perception of inquiry change as a result of collaboration with pre- service teachers and teacher educators? What were teachers’ perception of the ILF in helping them learn how to teach through inquiry?

31 This Study: Methods Used various methods:  Pre-post interviews (pre and in-service) Derived from Horizon’s instruments (2001) Inquiry Teaching Belief instrument Classroom observations of pre-service teachers  Examination of on-line discussion posts  exchanges

32 Semi-quantitative interview data Card sorting activity using 14 cards Distance of item from “Classroom” represents relative importance to inquiry teaching

33 Results: Value Added? I really enjoyed getting to see her lesson because it allows students like us who want to be teachers to go over what she is teaching and look at how things went. It is almost as if we are in there observing her and it is nice because we can watch her while at home. I thought the students were using inquiry because she was prompting them to give out information and open ended questions allowed students to reply. I really like watching the examples.

34 Results from Pre-course Interview Subjects view of inquiry teaching uncertain and broad  Aggregate data show all items important to at least one student  Only using textbooks and worksheets viewed as unimportant by majority  Six items viewed as important by majority

35 Results: ITB ITEMraw pre Normed Pre Normed postraw post Students evaluating evidence (a) Students following procedures (b) Students listening to teacher lecture (c) Students reading textbooks (d) Students filling out worksheets (e) Students working quietly in seats (f) Students reflecting on their work (g) Students working together (h) Students taking tests to measure learning (i) Students being continuously assessed (j) Students collecting data (k) Students responding to teacher questions (l) Students communicating findings (m) Students formulating questions (n)

36 Results from Post-course Interview Subjects have greater clarity and confidence in their understanding of inquiry teaching  Five items predominate as important  Five items predominate as unimportant or unsupportive of inquiry teaching Articulate a wide variety of teaching strategies that constitute inquiry  Hands-on, questioning, problem-solving Had a dichotomous view of science teaching  Either inquiry-oriented or not

37 Results: In-service Teachers Do my duty initially, one-way sharing  It was not that long ago that I was a student, and I remember thinking that I would love to had the opportunity to talk with teachers before I got to teach. I wish I would have the opportunity that is being provided to your students Time commitment

38 Results: In-service teachers I had many questions about what it means to teach through inquiry. I responded as best I could to their postings and questions, but not sure how helpful I have been. This experience has helped to better understand that what I though was inquiry-based teaching may not have been…

39 Conclusions This study suggest that pre-service & in-service teachers need and want opportunities to observe, visit, interact, and collaboratively reflect with teachers attempting to implement reform-based teaching strategies  Develop confidence  Aware of what an inquiry-based lesson looks like Influence their beliefs of how inquiry-lessons play out  Students still struggled with an inquiry dichotomy

40 Educational Implications ILF system provides an outlet for pre-service teachers to formally articulate their beliefs in relation to classroom practice Provide a variety of field and virtual experiences with various levels of inquiry- based teaching Connecting pre and in-service through emerging technologies can be a powerful tool to support in-service teacher reflection on their own practice


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