Professional development for the masses
Susan Williams, Arizona State University, United States
Arizona State University . Awarded
State departments of education are charged with overseeing the process of updating academic standards for their respective states. Although the process for updating standard varies between states, most states have similar elements: committee selection, creation of a draft of the revised standard, public comment sessions, standard adoption, professional development, and classroom implementation. It is crucial that the people responsible for updating the standard consider professional development options in order to enable full integration of the standard with core curriculum. During the technology standard creation process in Arizona, constituents submitted comments regarding the proposed standard in-person at a public comment sessions, or via fax, email, and postal mail. A comment from a constituent regarding what professional development would be offered for teachers to learn the standard was the impetus for this study.
This study examines the effectiveness of online professional development provided by the state department of education to support teachers in obtaining the skills necessary to assist with the implementation of the new standard. Specifically, this study attempted to answer four questions related to the online course as the primary means for professional development for the educational technology standard. First, to what extent, if any, would pre-kindergarten to twelfth-grade teachers view an online professional development class on the technology standard as a viable alternative to face-to-face professional development? Second, what role can professional development play in providing support to teachers in learning new technology skills? Third, what pedagogical skills are necessary for full implementation and integration of technology skills into the classroom? Finally, what online course elements are the most effective in supporting the internalization of course content?
Results from qualitative and quantitative data collection methods indicated that the participants were able to reflect upon their learning, interact with others, and gain information from rigorous content. As the course progressed, it was evident that the participants were reflecting upon their practices and changing views about the role of technology in their classrooms. The findings from this course helped to further the knowledge base on online courses and the course elements and will improve the course for future participants.
Williams, S. Professional development for the masses. Ph.D. thesis, Arizona State University.
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