Archive for category TechnologyIntegration

Teacher Professional Development Theories

Policy makers are setting ambitious goals for student achievement that depend heavily on the work of teachers in and outside the classroom.

  • 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).
  • 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).

Teachers’ professional development should be refocused on the building of learning communities.

To revolutionize education and achieve learning goals for students, teachers require a great deal of learning, support and guidance ( Ball & Cohen, 1999; Putanm & Borko, 1997).

“Teaching at Risk: A Call to Action” – a report released by The Teaching Commission( 2004) reminds us of the important role played by the teachers and calls for provision of “ongoing and target professional development” to help teachers meet the new demands.

Saxe, Gearheart, and Nasir (2001) compared three types of support for teacher learning:
(1) traditional professional development workshops, (2) a professional community-based
activity that offered support to teachers using new curriculum units, and (3) the Integrated
Mathematics Assessment (IMA) approach, which directly engaged teachers in learning
the mathematics in the new curriculum and developing pedagogical content knowledge
necessary to teach the curriculum.

Professional development is more effective when schools approach it not in isolation (as in the traditional one-shot workshop) but rather as a coherent part of a school reform effort.


Research on effective professional development also highlights the importance of collaborative and collegial learning environments that help develop communities of practice able to promote school change beyond individual classrooms (Darling- Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Hord, 1997; Knapp, 2003; Louis, Marks, & Kruse, 1996; Perez et al., 2007).

McLaughlin and Talbert (2006) have been studying school-based learning communities for more than 15 years. Their seminal work has taught us that school-based communities are uniquely situated between “macro-” or system-level directives and resources and the “micro”realities of teachers’ classrooms.

The design of professional development experiences must also address how teachers
learn. In particular, active learning opportunities allow teachers to transform their
teaching and not simply layer new strategies on top of the old (Snow-Renner & Lauer,
2005). These opportunities often involve modeling the new strategies and constructing
opportunities for teachers to practice and reflect on them (Garet et al., 2001; Saxe et al.,
2001; Supovitz et al., 2000).

In addition, teaching practices and student learning are more likely to be transformed by
professional development that is sustained, coherent, and intense (Cohen & Hill, 2001;
Garet et al, 2001; Supovitz, Mayer, & Kahle, 2000; Weiss & Pasley, 2006). The
traditional episodic, fragmented approach does not allow for rigorous, cumulative
learning (Knapp, 2003).

In a review of nine studies, Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, and Shapley (2007) found that
sustained and intensive professional development was related to student achievement.
The three studies of professional development lasting l4 or fewer hours showed no effects
on student learning, whereas other studies of programs offering more than 14 hours of
sustained teacher learning opportunities showed significant positive effects. The largest
effects were found for programs offering between 30 and 100 hours spread out over 6–12

Number of researchers highlight the effectiveness of sustained, jobembedded, collaborative teacher learning strategies. An approach that meets these criteria, and that has been increasingly featured in the literature, is the professional learning community. In this model, teachers work together and engage in continual dialogue to examine their practice and student performance and to develop and implement more effective instructional practices

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Online Schools is at the “peak of inflated expectations” – Larry Cuban

I read a blog post by Larry Cuban talking about the hype of online learning especially at high school level and what drives the hype. He referred to the news coming from Stanford University where the Stanford Online High School graduated 30 seniors this year.

What struck me was the explanation of the hype cycle and the causes. Many have commented on his post and as expected there are many who are not fully convinced on the promises of such technological innovation and radical changes to the teaching and learning.

As a classroom teacher, I feel like taking the side of the teachers but as a technology enthusiast and learning sciences researchers I am somewhat convinced that technology can make a difference and teachers need to learn to live with it. That being said, I agree that teachers will and should play a vital role in the learning experiences of high school children regardless of the medium( virtual or in a physical classroom). Effective teachers should and would be able to teach with or without technology.

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Teachers views on factors affecting effective integration of IT in the classroom.

It’s been a while since I last documented my readings and research on this blog, not because I didn’t read, but because I was not able to sit down to write a post. Over the past few weeks, I read several articles and a few chapters from Cambridge Handbook of Learning Sciences. I have several excerpts that I would like to document here and I wish to do that over the next couple of days.

At work, this is a difficult time as I am developing two new courses, Java Programming( intro level) and Flash Programming ( Intro level) for seniors at King’s. In addition to developing new curriculum for these courses, I am also trying create a setup for the computer science classroom and obtain software licenses such as Adobe CS5 for class use. Thus far, this has been a challenging task, in terms of convincing the administrators and negotiates with the IT department to facilitate the process.

Yesterday, I read an interesting article from the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education on “ teachers’ views on factors affecting effective integration of information technology in the classroom” by two Israeli researchers. This article reports on an exploratory, longitudinal study which examined six teachers of grades 4, 5 and 6 for three years. Based on the individual case studies of four teachers and the case study of the entire group, the researchers found two patterns of views on the factors affecting technology integration: views concerned with the sources of influence or “human factor”and: the nature of influence when using technology ranging from technical to cognitive transformations.



Levin, T., & Wadmany, R. (2008). Teachers ’ Views on Factors Affecting Effective Integration of Information Technology in the Classroom : Developmental Scenery. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 16(2), 233-263.

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Impact of culture on teacher and technology use

A number of initiatives in the west ( e.g: OER, EFA etc.) is trying to create cross-cultural education materials for the learners all around the globe using technology.  Many researchers( e.g: Massy, 2005; Burnham, 2005) argue that culture plays a vital role in internationalizing educational materials. Thus the issues surrounding culture and educational technology is  gaining ground in research and development.


According to the the chapter titled “culture and online education.” in the Handbook of Distance Education (Moore & Anderson, 2003), there is little published research on the cultural aspects related to educational technology’’ (Gunawardena, Wilson, & Nolla, 2003, p. 770; Rogers, 2006).

It is clear that culture has a strong impact on human–computer interaction.



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Chapter 12- TPCK in in-service education

In chapter 12 of the Handbook of TPCK for educators, Harris(2008) points out the discrepancy between teachers actions and  leaders’ vision. This is a reoccurring theme in many of my readings from Cuban’s(2001) book to some of the more recent articles from journals. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this chapter as I was able to relate to and think of ways I can help in-service teachers gain TPCK skills.

According to Harris(2008)

  • Technology “should assist with – not overshadow – teachers helping students to meet curriculum-based standards.” (p. 252)
  • “To an experienced educator, teaching is much like jazz performance: a well-practiced fusion of
    • careful, creative planning and
    • spontaneous improvisation” (p. 251)
  • Technology integration is defined as “pervasive and productive use of educational technologies for purposes of curriculum-based learning and teaching” (p. 252).

According to the author, the “wicked problem” of technology integration can be solved by understanding a number of interwoven aspects related to pedagogy, teaching and technology. It is necessary to recognize  that TPCK is not only focusing on knowledge from several domains such as CK, PK, TK, PCK, TCK, TPCK as suggested by Koehler and Mishra’s (2006) diagram but also is highly situated and thus is “influenced by contextual factors such as  culture, socioeconomic status, and organizational structures”(p. 255).

“… well-developed TPCK may be positively correlated with general teaching expertise” (p. 256).

The author recognizes that experienced teachers need a different type of professional development than novices. She proposes that professional development be developed around activity types (structures) within and across curriculum-based disciplines.

“given the socially situated, event-structured, episodic, and pragmatic nature of experienced teachers’ knowledge( Moallem, 1998; Putnam & Borko,2000)” (p. 257) activity structures”- ( as in sociocultural theory) can be used as “cultural tools that perpetuate and standardize interaction patterns and interaction norms and expectations”( p. 257) of teachers.

  • TPCK structure combinations: imitate, assimilate, innovate (p. 262)
    • => activity structures/types approach to TPCK-focused professional development for experienced teachers:
      • knowledge-building activities (p. 263)
      • knowledge expression activities (p. 264)
      • divergent knowledge expression activities (p. 264)

In conclusion, the author argued that activity structures/types approach is the way forward for in-service professional development that would provide opportunities for the  experienced teachers’ to be expand move towards a deep philosophical change.


Harris, J. (2008). TPCK inservice education: Assisting experienced teachers’ “planned improvisations.” In AACTE Committee in Innovation and Technology (Ed.), Handbook of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK) for educators (pp. 251-271). New York, NY: Routledge.

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