You are here:

A Design-Based Research Approach to Improving Professional Development and Teacher Knowledge: The Case of the Smithsonian Learning Lab

, University of California, Irvine, United States ; , Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, United States ; , , , University of California, Irvine, United States

CITE Journal Volume 17, Number 3, ISSN 1528-5804 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA


Incorporating technology in classrooms to promote student learning is an ongoing instructional challenge. Teacher professional development (PD) is a central component of teacher education to support student use of technology and can improve student learning, but PD has had mixed results. In this study, researchers investigated a PD program designed to prepare a cohort of middle school social studies teachers to teach with an online resource, the Smithsonian Learning Lab. They examined how an iterative, design-based approach used teacher feedback to develop learning opportunities in the PD. Using the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge framework (TPACK), they found that through four iterations of 1-day PD workshops, PDs afforded teachers increasingly individualized and meaningful opportunities to learn. Teacher feedback emerged as a central component in the changes and development of the PD series. Through the course of the PD, teacher knowledge increased across five of seven TPACK domains.


Zinger, D., Naranjo, A., Amador, I., Gilbertson, N. & Warschauer, M. (2017). A Design-Based Research Approach to Improving Professional Development and Teacher Knowledge: The Case of the Smithsonian Learning Lab. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(3), 388-410. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education. Retrieved March 25, 2019 from .

View References & Citations Map


  1. Aldunate, R., & Nussbaum, M. (2013). Teacher adoption of technology. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 519-524.
  2. Anderson, T., & Shattuck, J. (2012). Design-based research: A decade of progress in education research? Educational Researcher, 41(1), 16-25.
  3. Angeli, C., & Valanides, N. (2009). Epistemological and methodological issues for the conceptualization, development, and assessment of ICT–TPCK: Advances in technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK). Computers& Education, 52, 154-168. Doi:10.1016/J.compedu.2008.07.006
  4. Annetta, L.A., Frazier, W.M., Folta, E., Holmes, S., Lamb, R., & Cheng, M.T. (2013). Science teacher efficacy and extrinsic factors toward professional development using videogames in a design-based research model: The next generation of STEM learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 22(1), 47-61. Doi:10.1007/s10956-012-9375-y
  5. Antoniou, P., & Kyriakides, L. (2013). A dynamic integrated approach to teacher professional development: Impact and sustainability of the effects on improving teacher behaviour and student outcomes. Teaching and Teacher Education, 29(1), 1-12.
  6. Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14.
  7. Brinkerhoff, J. (2005). Effects of a long-duration, professional development academy on technology skills, computer self-efficacy, and technology integration beliefs and practices. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39(1), 22-43. Doi:10.1080/15391523.2006.10782471
  8. Brown, A.L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. The Journal of Learning Sciences, 2, 141-178.
  9. Collins, A. (1992). Towards a design science of education. New Directions in Educational Technology, 15-22.
  10. Collins, A., Josep, D., & Bielaczye, K. (2004). Design research: Theoretical and methodological issues. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 15-42.
  11. Cuban, L. (2013, December 6). A second look at the iPad program at LAUSD (Weblog). Retrieved from
  12. Dede, C., Jass Ketelhut, D., Whitehouse, P., Breit, L., & McCloskey, E. (2008). A research agenda for online teacher professional development. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 8-19. Doi:10.1177/0022487108327554
  13. Desimone, L. (2009). Improving impact studies of teachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational Researcher, 38(3), 181-199.
  14. Garet, M.S., Porter, A.C., Desimone, L., Birman, B.F., & Yoon, K.S. (2001). What makes professional development efective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915-945.
  15. Greeno, J. (2011). A situative perspective on cognition and learning in interaction. In T. Koschmann (Ed.), Theories of learning and studies of instructional practice (pp. 359383).
  16. Koehler, M.J., Mishra, P., & Cain, W. (2013). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK)? The Journal of Education, 193(3), 13–19. Retrieved from
  17. Koehler, M.J., Shin, T.S., & Mishra, P. (2012). How do we measure TPACK? Let me count the ways. In R.N. Ronau, C.R. Rakes, & M.L. Niess (Eds.), Educational technology, teacher knowledge, and cassroom impact: A research handbook on frameworks and approaches (pp. 16-31). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
  18. Lawless, K.A., & Pellegrino, J.W. (2007). Professional development in integrating technology into teaching and learning: Knowns, unknowns, and ways to pursue better questions and answers. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 575-614. Doi:10.3102/0034654307309921
  19. Lim, C.P., & Khine, M. (2006). Managing teachers’ barriers to ICT integration in Singapore schools. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 14(1), 97-125.
  20. MacDonald, R. (2008). Professional development for information communication technology integration. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 40(4), 429-445.
  21. Martin, W., Strother, S., Beglau, M., Bates, L., Reitzes, T., & Culp, K.M.M. (2010). Connecting instructional technology professional development to teacher and student outcomes. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43(1), 53-74. Doi:10.1080/15391523.2010.10782561Marty,P.F.(2008a).Anintroduction to digital convergence: Libraries, archives, and museums in the information age. Archival Science, 8(4), 247-250. Doi:10.1007/s10502009-9094-1
  22. Marty, P.F. (2011). My lost museum: User expectations and motivations for creating personal digital collections on museum websites. Library and Information Science Research, 33(3), 211-219.
  23. Matzen, N.J., & Edmunds, J.A. (2007). Technology as a catalyst for change: The role of professional development. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39(4), 417430.
  24. Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. Doi:10.1111/J.1467-9620.2006.00684.x
  25. Mouza, C. (2009). Does research-based professional development make a difference? A longitudinal investigation of teacher learning in technology integration. The Teachers College Record, 111(5), 1195-1241. Retrieved from Content.asp?contentid=15479
  26. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2015). Students, Computers and Learning. Paris, FR: OECD Publishing.
  27. Papert, S. (1990). A critique of technocentrism in thinking about the school of the future. Retrieved from
  28. Parry, R. (2007). Recording the museum digital heritage and the technologies of change. New York, NY: Routledge.
  29. Polly, D. (2011). Teachers’ learning while constructing technology-based instructional resources. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(6), 950-961.
  30. Rosenberg, J.M., & Koehler, M.J. (2013). Context and technological pedagogical content knowledge: A content analysis. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 47(3), 186–210.
  31. Saldaña, J. (2016). The coding manual for qualitative researchers (3rd ed.). London. UK: SAGE. Schmidt, D.A, Baran, E., Thompson, A.D., Mishra, P., Koehler, M.J., & Shin, T.S. (2009). Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): The development and validation Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 17(3) of an assessment instrument for preservice teachers. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(2), 123-149. Doi:10.1007/978-1-60761-303-9
  32. Schrum, L. (1999). Technology professional development for teachers. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(4), 83-90.
  33. Schrum, L., & Levin, B.B. (2013). Teachers’ technology professional development: Lessons learned from exemplary schools. TechTrends, 57(1), 38-42.
  34. Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. Harvard Educational Review, 57(1), 1-23.
  35. Supovitz, J.A. (2013). Situated research design and methodological choices informative program evaluation. National Society for the Study of Education, 112(2), 372-399.
  36. Voogt, J., Erstad, O., Dede, C., & Mishra, P. (2013). Challenges to learning and schooling in the digital networked world of the 21st century. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 29(5), 403-413. Doi:10.1111/jcal.12029
  37. Wang, S.K., Hsu, H.Y., Reeves, T.C., & Coster, D.C. (2014). Professional development to enhance teachers’ practices in using information and communication technologies (ICTs) as cognitive tools: Lessons learned from a design-based research study. Computers and Education, 79, 101-115.
  38. Warschauer, M., Cotten, S.R., & Ames, M.G. (2011). One laptop per child Birmingham: Case study of a radical experiment. International Journal of Learning, 3(2), 61-76.
  39. Zinger, D., Tate, T., & Warschauer, M. (2017). Learning and teaching with digital media: Technological pedagogy and classroom practice. In J. Clandinin & J. Husu (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of research on teacher education (577-593). London, UK: Sage. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education is an online journal. All text, tables, and figures in the print version of this article are exact representations of the original. However, the original article may also include video and audio files, which can be accessed online at

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact