- In the last two decades, research has defined a new paradigm for professional
development—one that rejects the ineffective “drive-by” workshop model of the past in
favor of more powerful opportunities (Stein, Smith, & Silver, 1999).
- We are coming to understand that learning rather than being solely individual (as we have taken it to be) is actually also social. It happens through experience and practice. In plain terms—people learn from and with others in particular ways. They learn through practice (learning as doing), through meaning (learning as intentional), through community (learning as participating and being with others), and through identity (learning as changing who we are).
- Professional development that focuses on student learning and helps teachers develop the
pedagogical skills to teach specific kinds of content has strong positive effects on practice
(Blank, de las Alas, & Smith, 2007; Wenglinsky, 2000).
- Boroko, Whitcomb and Liston(2009) described the use of technology in teacher learning as “wicked problem” suggesting that it is a really difficult problem that cannot be resolved by one size fits all solutions.
- Brown and Adler(2008) argued that we must pay attention to social learning as a new model learning rather than traditional knowledge transfer from teacher to students. They believe that we should move to learning 2.0( just as we moved to Web 2.0) which is a demand-pull learning that removes the fine line between formal and informal learning.
- Today’s teachers are asked to teach 21st century skills to students and thus need to take on new skills and concepts.
- Teachers must be life long learners who are adaptive and continuously growing and developing new skills throughout their career( Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005).
- Abundance of computers and digital media in schools and emphasis place on technology integration highlight the importance of teacher learning and professional development that support new modes of learning( Whitehouse, 2011).
- Constructionism- theory combining earlier theories such as Piaget’s constructivism and Vygotsky’s situated learning.
- How people learn ( Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2002).
- Situated learning( Glazer, Hannafin, Polly, & Rich, 2009).
- Whitehouse(2011) suggested teacher learning for technology integration can be done by using “Learning by Design” similar to the more familiar project-based or inquiry-based learning.
- In constructionism, given design project drives the technology use, and technology skills are learned in an integrated way, along with the domain of the creative activity. This way technology serves as a means to lead to a deeper more transferable acquisition of knowledge.
- Constructionism incorporates elements of the social cognitive theory of Vygotsky, thus social and cultural interaction is vital in knowledge construction and learning.
- Some researchers argue that teacher learning is best supported using Lave and Wenger’s(1991) situated learning theory and by formation of communities of practice( Wenger, 1998).
- Whitehouse(2011) and Kafai & Resnick(1996) argued that both the process and the product are important for developing technology professional development research agenda and for developing effective teacher learning contexts.
- “Blurred” learning environments created by networked learning contexts where learners are often working sychronosly across distance and at the same time working face-to-face with a group. Thus the meaning of being “present” blurs as one works across time and distance.
- Teachers may use computers as “partners”( p. 4) in cognition because computers can perform certain functions more quickly and accurately than humans( Salomon, Perkins and Globerson, 1991).
- According to Bransford, Brown and Cocking(2002) new findings on students learning also apply to how adults learning. Eg: metacognitive reflection( Hammerness et. al, 2005).
- Whitehouse(2011) recommended four dimension of teacher learning by combining the Dimensions of Effective Learning (DEL) developed by Bransford, Brown and Cocking(2002) and teacher professional development research literature. The four dimensions named as ” Teacher Dimensions of Effective Learning- TDEL” intersect with learners, pedagogy and technology drawn from the work of Borko(2004).
- The three variables crossed with TDEL create an analytical for framing teacher professional development.
Peer observations of practice. Teachers in professional communities often make regular
visits to one another’s classrooms and provide feedback and assistance (Hord, 1997).
Critical friends groups trained to use protocols designed by the National Reform Faculty
have successfully engaged in this type of professional learning (Dunne, Nave, & Lewis,
2000). Teachers can also videotape their teaching to make aspects of their practice open
to peer review, to learn new practices and pedagogical strategies, and to analyze aspects
of teaching practice that may be difficult to capture otherwise (Sherin, 2004). Research
has found that this kind of work can change teachers’ practices, knowledge, and
effectiveness (Lustick & Sykes, 2006; Sato, Wei, & Darling-Hammond, 2008).
I just bought the Cambridge Handbook of Learning Sciences [Kindle Edition]. What a good resource for me to prepare for my comps! I will be writing on the different topics covered in the handbook soon.
- Over the years, there has been numerous calls for the reform of teacher professional development (Darling-Hammond, 1997; Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Hawley & Valli, 1999; Lewis, 2002; National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, 2003; Wilson & Berne, 2001).
- The need for providing teachers with on-going high quality PD.
PD today are still based mostly on:
- “deficit model of knowledge” (Hawkes, 2000 p. 268).
- top down approaches
- based on lectures
- with limited opportunities for the teachers to collaborate, share experiences, and build new knowledge [Adsit, J. N(2004). p. 7]
Adsit(2004) argues that professional development for teachers opportunities for “social collaborations”(Marx et al., 1998) among “robust” peer supported networks.
new models of professional development have attempted to harness the power of computers and Web-based technologies to foster the following:
- Teacher change and improvement (Ellett et al., 2002; Marx et al., 1998; Soloway et al., 1996)
- Collaboration and community-building (Hawkes, 2000a; Moore & Barab, 2002; Schlager, Fusco, & Schank, 2002)
- Professional development reform efforts (Gross et al., 2001; National Staff Development Council & National Institute for Community Innovations, 2001; Wang & Hartley, 2003)
A growing body of evidence points to benefits of using technology to provide PD programs( e.g: TAPPED IN):
- Reduced teacher isolation ( e.g: when using electronic communication) [Dimock & Rood, 1996; Hawkes 2000a; Jinks & Lord, 1990; Ruopp, Gal, Drayton, & Pfister, 1993],
- Access to a broad range of resources for improving teaching and learning [Ball, 1998; Ellett et al., 2002]
- Opportunities for collaboration and professional growth [Fusco, Gelbach, & Schlager, 2000; Schlager & Schank, 1997; Schlager et al., 2002].