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.
Research indicates that preservice teachers’ understandings of how to integrate technology into their classrooms are dependent upon experience in their university methods courses and in their field placements. These findings place a new responsibility on teacher educators for modeling effective integration of technology into methods courses. This study focused on teacher educators’ integration of technology using iPads to enhance teaching and learning in an elementary education teacher preparation program. Four faculty members documented their own technology integration journey through collaborative autoethnography identifying the affordances and challenges of 1:1 iPad integration into their science, social studies and literacy methods courses. The researchers discovered that access to technology alone is not sufficient for faculty members to integrate iPad use in their courses. High quality use of iPads and their applications require time for exploration, experimentation, and practice, as well as professional support and development adding another dimension to the work of teacher educators.