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Volume 19  Issue 1  

Professional Learning Practices and Beliefs of an Online Community of English Language Teachers

by Jeremy D. Slagoski
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This study investigated the domain and practice of an online community of practice formed by English language teachers (ELTs) on Twitter as a professional learning network (PLN). A “Communities of Practice” framework (Wenger, 1998; Wenger-Trayner & Wenger-Trayner, 2015) was applied to the qualitative analysis of interviews and publicly accessible social media data of 20 participants. This paper reports on the extent to which members of the PLN use social media for professional purposes and their perceptions of the value of social media in comparison to more traditional means of professional learning: reading ELT textbooks, reading scholarly articles on pedagogy and applied linguistics, and participating in ELT conferences. Findings demonstrate that this PLN functioned as a community of practice that valued social media as a tool in conjunction with the more traditional means of professional learning. Participants said social media had particular advantages, including accessibility, brevity, and low cost.  The paper concludes with suggestions for future research and implications for hybrid ELT professional learning practices.

Volume 18  Issue 4  

K-12 Technology Leaders: Reported Practices of Technology Professional Development Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation

by Michael Karlin, Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Gamze Ozogul & Yin-Chan Liao
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Teachers have perceived technology professional development (tech-PD) as ineffective, particularly when it does not address individual needs.  Researchers need to examine how tech-PD experiences are planned, implemented, and evaluated. Typically K-12 technology leaders (e.g., technology coaches) are responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating tech-PD. This study focused on the reported tech-PD design practices of technology leaders who are members of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).  Based on data from questionnaire responses (n=153), interviews (= 6), and artifacts (= 6), three trends emerged: (a) ISTE technology leaders planned tech-PD experiences based on teacher, administrative, school, and district needs, but did not report conducting formal needs assessments; (b) ISTE technology leaders implemented tech-PD via a variety of approaches, but did not report implementing sustained and continuous tech-PD; and (c) ISTE technology leaders evaluated tech-PD using self-reported teacher data, but did not collect more systematic evaluation data.

Volume 18  Issue 3  

A Window Into the Classroom: Examining the Use of Virtual Classrooms in Teacher Education

by Pamela Beach, Rhonda Martinussen, Daniel Poliszczuk & Dale Willows
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This exploratory study examined the perceived usefulness of virtual classroom visits in literacy education coursework and teacher preparation programs from the perspectives of elementary teacher candidates (TCs) and teacher educators. Virtual tour technology was used to capture 360-degree views of classrooms. Participants (N = 10) had access to these virtual classrooms via a professional development website. After viewing four of the preK-6 virtual classrooms, participants were invited to a focus group or an interview where they described the potential use of virtual classroom visits in literacy education coursework. An inductive approach to analysis led to preliminary insights into the benefits and challenges of using virtual classrooms in teacher education programs and coursework. Findings suggest that virtual classroom visits have the potential to bridge the gap between what TCs learn in their coursework and their field experiences. Virtual classroom visits can offer TCs an additional window into exemplary classrooms and access to models of highly experienced teachers.

Volume 18  Issue 2  

Creating an Interactive Virtual Community of Linguistically and Culturally Responsive Content Teacher-Learners to Serve English Learners

by Sujin Kim, Kim Song & Sarah Coppersmith
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This qualitative case study was framed by an experiential learning approach organized around video resources and linguistically and culturally responsive content teaching. The study explored an overarching research question: How did teacher-learners in a grant project interact with a multimedia learning platform that combined teaching video and VoiceThread presentation, called VT project, designed to enhance their linguistically and culturally responsive content teaching (LCRCT) for English learners (ELs)? Data included participants’ VT projects, online and face-to-face class discussions, survey results, and final reflective papers in two TESOL courses as part of a National Professional Development grant program in a Midwestern University. Analyses demonstrated that the technology-assisted course design generally promoted a critical habit of mind among teacher-learners through opportunities to attentively notice and critically reflect on one’s own and others’ teaching practices. Teacher-learners demonstrated a shared ownership over their teaching processes while establishing a reflective discourse community, where the LCRCT framework guided their learning and practices of LCRCT for ELs. Study implications include ways for the teacher-learners to transfer their learning from this reflective multimedia-supported TESOL program into their classrooms, schools, and districts, as well as the challenges. The research was conducted by the three instructors who designed and implemented the course.