Understanding teacher change: A study of professional development in technology integration
Chrystalla Mouza, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States
Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded
This study had three primary objectives. First, it analyzed the pedagogical activities of two professional development models designed by the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. Second, it investigated the impact of these activities on the knowledge, practices, and beliefs of participating teachers. School contextual factors such as administrative support, collaboration with colleagues, and availability of resources were also examined in order to identify their influence on teacher learning. Third, it provided recommendations for the design of effective professional development programs on the use of technology.
A qualitative case study design was employed in order to understand changes in the knowledge, practices, and beliefs of teachers. The research sample included eight elementary teachers from an urban public school in New York City. Data collection consisted of repeated interviews with the teachers, classroom observations, observation of professional development activities, and document analysis over the course of one school year.
Findings of the study indicated that all teachers became more competent in using productivity software and the Internet and acquired a better understanding of technology integration. Moreover, most teachers started using computers more frequently for both professional and instructional purposes and developed strategies that allowed them to manage classroom use of technology. Finally, most teachers modified their beliefs about the role of computers in education, the subject areas in which they can be used, and the advantages and disadvantages associated with their use in the classroom. Teacher change was partly enabled by the organizational structure of the school, which was conducive to learning.
For teachers participating in this study, change was a learning process that unfolded over time. As teachers acquired new knowledge and skills, they started implementing technology-enhanced activities in their classrooms. Seeing the positive impact of these activities on the student learning outcome enabled teachers to reexamine and modify their beliefs about teaching with technology. Teachers who did not implement technology in their classrooms were unable to modify their beliefs. Therefore, this study concludes that changes in teacher practices precede changes in beliefs.
Mouza, C. Understanding teacher change: A study of professional development in technology integration. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University.
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