Supporting Science Teacher Learning of Technology Integration Through New Models and Tools

Jones, William, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Dexter, Sara, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The purpose of this manuscript style dissertation is to examine the processes science teachers engage in for learning about technology integration, and suggest how new models and tools can improve teacher learning in this area. This line of research is intended to provide those who are interested in the processes science teachers engage in for learning about technology integration, such as school leaders and instructional designers, with findings that will enable them to create more effective learning opportunities for teachers, build capacity within their organization, and align the learning goals of the organization with those of their teachers.
Currently, school divisions focus primarily on formal professional development (PD) activities to assist science teachers in integrating technology into their instruction. These activities typically consist of short, one-time workshops with minimal on-going support. While research on effective science teacher PD for technology integration (e.g., Higgins & Spitulnik, 2008) suggests implementing elements such as social support and teacher collaboration, these elements are not yet widely used for science teacher learning of technology integration. However, teachers, despite the lack of organizational support, exhibit many of the suggested elements through their informal and independent learning activities. This tension between what teachers do and what school divisions provide limits teacher learning, wastes opportunities for school divisions to capitalize more extensively than at present on teacher learning, and creates misalignment between the organization’s and its teachers’ learning goals.
Through our findings, we were able to provide practical suggestions for developing a more holistic teacher learning system for technology integration in science instruction. This proposed system capitalizes on the affordances of specific learning modes to minimize the constraints in other modes, and uncovers new affordances through the synergies created by combining learning modes. As well, the proposed system provides better alignment between teachers’ and the organization’s learning goals.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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