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Creating a Technology-Enabled Practice: Integrating Technology through Collaborative Professional Development

  • Author(s): Kempkey, Julia
  • Advisor(s): Hull, Glynda A
  • et al.
Abstract

Technology has transformed our world, however; it has yet to revolutionize our schools. When teachers integrate technology effectively into their classroom practice, they provide students with the ability to access a tremendous amount of information, communicate with others both near and far, and demonstrate their learning in innovative ways. The literature indicates that teachers who utilize more constructivist approaches, that incorporate students’ interest into the classroom, provide time for students to collaborate and construct meaning and demonstrate understanding, are better able to integrate technology in meaningful ways. Many secondary teachers are constrained by the isolation inherent in the schools, which perpetuates their use of traditional, didactic teaching approaches and maintains teachers’ low sense of efficacy with the use of technology. The theory of action that underpins this research is based on the assumption that teachers who are provided with a professional learning experience allowing them to experiment with technology and to develop their pedagogical and technological confidence in the use of the technology will be more likely to integrate technology into their teaching in meaningful ways.

This design development study aimed to provide teachers with a collaborative professional learning experience to support the integration of technology, specifically their use of a learning-management system, Google Classroom, and student mobile devices. Eight secondary teachers participated in the professional learning experience, which included five workshop sessions (two full-day sessions and three after-school two-hour sessions). The workshop series provided teachers with open-ended work time to create curricula in the Google Classroom as well as time to reflect on their students’ experiences in their classrooms. Two kinds of data were collected and analyzed through the courses of this study; process and impact data. The process data provided insight into how the professional learning experience unfolded and the impact data illuminated how the experience influenced the teachers’ classroom practice.

The professional learning experience was designed to impact two dimensions of the teachers’ practice. First, through modeling and structured work time, the teachers were encouraged to develop student-centered instructional practices, routines, norms, and procedures that support technology integration. The second dimension related to teachers’ increased use of technology-enabled instructional strategies, norms, and organization. Overall, the teachers increased their effective use and integration of technology. They also showed more willingness to consider possible ways of incorporating student-centered instructional strategies into their practice, although the influence of the design development study on this aspect of the teachers’ practice was less pronounced. Finally, the data indicated that professional development designed to increase teachers’ effective use of and sense of confidence with technology requires that teachers have time to collaborate with like-minded colleagues, experiment with the technology in the context of their curriculum, and be provided appropriate levels of technical support.

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