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Volume 17  Issue 4  

Supporting Change in Teacher Practice: Examining Shifts of Teachers’ Professional Development Preferences and Needs for Technology Integration

by Yin-Chan Liao, Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Michael Karlin, Krista Glazewski & Thomas Brush
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Studies have shown that when K-12 school districts implement a new technology initiative, it is not always accompanied by effective teacher professional development (PD).  Many teachers have indicated that effective technology PD experiences should incorporate their individual PD needs.  The authors surveyed technology-using K-12 teachers at two points (2009 and 2015) to examine what they perceived as useful technology PD with regard to content and format.  Specifically, since technology changes quickly, we sought to examine whether there were any changes to what teachers perceived as useful content and format for technology PD.  Over 6 years, more teachers reported that personalized technology PD tended to be more effective.  Although some things remained consistent regarding content (e.g., utilizing Web 2.0 resources continued to be preferred PD content by teachers in both years), other content preferences changed (e.g., mobile applications and pedagogical-focused knowledge and skills).  Regarding PD format, the authors found that in 2015 more teachers perceived online and face-to-face workshops, personal learning networks, and conferences as useful.  Finally, teacher-led PD and in-class support were suggested as useful by more teachers in 2015.  Thus, more personalized, sustained, and situated PD is needed to effectively support K-12 teacher technology integration.

Volume 17  Issue 3  

A Design-Based Research Approach to Improving Professional Development and Teacher Knowledge: The Case of the Smithsonian Learning Lab

by Doron Zinger, Ashley Naranjo, Isabel Amador, Nicole Gilbertson & Mark Warschauer
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Incorporating technology in classrooms to promote student learning is an ongoing instructional challenge. Teacher professional development (PD) is a central component of teacher education to support student use of technology and can improve student learning, but PD has had mixed results. In this study, researchers investigated a PD program designed to prepare a cohort of middle school social studies teachers to teach with an online resource, the Smithsonian Learning Lab. They examined how an iterative, design-based approach used teacher feedback to develop learning opportunities in the PD. Using the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge framework (TPACK), they found that through four iterations of 1-day PD workshops, PDs afforded teachers increasingly individualized and meaningful opportunities to learn. Teacher feedback emerged as a central component in the changes and development of the PD series. Through the course of the PD, teacher knowledge increased across five of seven TPACK domains.

Volume 17  Issue 2  

Reflecting on the Challenges of Informal Contexts: Early Field Experiences With Technology in Teacher Education

by Nick Lux, Amanda Obery, Jamie Cornish, Bruna Irene Grimberg & Anthony Hartshorn
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Early field experiences, or those that come early in a teacher’s preparation before more formalized opportunities like practicum and student teaching, can provide a venue for pre service teachers to practice technology-specific instructional decision-making and reflective practice. Although research exists on the potential roles of field experiences in teacher education, little research exists on early field experiences, especially those taking place in informal contexts. Moreover, little research exists examining how those early field experiences in informal spaces might shape preservice teachers’ use of digital learning tools.  To address this gap, an inquiry was conducted to better understand teachers’ early field work experiences in informal science contexts and the use of formative assessment technologies. Researchers used a mixed methods design to examine how early field experiences might support authentic and robust opportunities for teachers in training. Results suggested that technology-focused early field experiences can serve as confirmatory events for preservice teachers, afford them opportunities to apply theory and content knowledge to practice, and contend with issues related to technology integration, instructional planning, classroom management, and even attendance within an informal context. Findings could be used to improve the design of early field experiences for preservice teachers, and facilitate the scaffolding of the opportunities to help them better integrate technologies into those experiences.

Volume 17  Issue 1  

TPACK in Special Education: Preservice Teacher Decision Making While Integrating iPads Into Instruction

by Susan Anderson, Robin Griffith & Lindy Crawford
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This study provides insight into preservice teachers’ experiences with integrating technology into lessons with children who had mild learning disabilities. Participants included 14 junior early childhood education majors enrolled in a special education course with a fieldwork component. The researchers collected and analyzed lesson plans, journal entries, focus group interviews, and field notes.  The findings illustrated preservice teachers’ use of iPad apps during fieldwork, identified their technology-related instructional decisions, and determined how those choices exhibited emerging dimensions of technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK). The preservice teachers combined their knowledge of pedagogy, student understanding of content, and emerging knowledge of iPad apps to effectively develop and conduct lessons in various content areas.  Interviews with the students supported the social validity of the iPad implementation.