For decades, educators have hoped to integrate geospatial tools into K-12 classrooms but struggled with barriers of time, technology, and curriculum alignment. The authors formed a design partnership with ninth-grade science and social studies teachers in an urban high school in order to conduct teacher professional development while also developing geospatially enabled curricula to enact in their classrooms. This article includes a description of the curriculum design principles and processes, as well as an explanation of the professional development strategies as participants worked should to shoulder in designing engaging classroom instruction to enhance students’ geospatial thinking and reasoning skills. One of the activities presented is an example of the design and development process, and lessons learned from the pilot test implementation are presented. This article may inform similar work with geospatial technologies in teacher professional development and curriculum development.
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.
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 (n = 6), and artifacts (n = 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.
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.