Distance education as a method of promoting the professional development of Taiwanese junior high school mathematics teachers in using technology
Yi-wen Chen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign . Awarded
This study investigated the self-reported effects of a distance education project on Taiwanese junior high school mathematics teachers' professional development in using technology. By means of a CD-ROM, the project introduced teachers how to integrate spreadsheet software in their classroom teaching. The research focused on investigating whether teachers, through the CD-ROM Project, increase their competencies, interests, motivations, and willingness to actually apply spreadsheet software. Also, this study explored how mathematics teachers currently use computer technology and identified barriers that prevented them from participating in computer training.
Through an experimental posttest-only control group design, this study randomly selected 100 inservice junior-high mathematics teachers from four suburban Taiwanese counties to participate. The teachers were randomly assigned to a control or an experimental group. Teachers in the experimental group worked through the CD-ROM for a two-week period. (Teachers in the control group did not receive the CD-ROM until after the study was completed.) Two weeks later, each participant was asked to complete a self-evaluation questionnaire.
The results revealed several important findings. First, teachers in both groups used word processing, spreadsheets, web browser, and telecommunication software most frequently, and mainly for writing supplementary materials, calculating scores, looking for teaching materials, and communicating with colleagues or students. Most teachers desired to learn how to integrate computer technology with mathematics teaching. They were prevented from doing so because of lacking time, district/school funds, and relevant topics. Second, the CD-ROM Project seemed to improve teachers' competencies, interests, motivations, and willingness to apply spreadsheet software in their teaching (probability, statistics, and mathematical functions) and in score calculation. Third, teachers having computers seemed to have more knowledge and ability to integrate computer technology in their teaching. Also, the more frequently teachers used computer technology in teaching, the more knowledge and ability they seemed to have in that respect. Finally, teachers' evaluations for the project showed that they liked the content and design of the CD-ROM. It is concluded that self-paced distance education in which teachers gain experience in integrating spreadsheet software in their teaching can be an effective supplement to on-site inservice professional development.*
*The dissertation is multimedia (contains text and other applications not available in printed format). The CD requires the following system applications: Internet Browser; Microsoft Office; QuickTime; Windows MediaPlayer or RealPlayer.
Chen, Y.w. Distance education as a method of promoting the professional development of Taiwanese junior high school mathematics teachers in using technology. Ph.D. thesis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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