Program outcomes of a professional development initiative in instructional technology: A case study
The use of computers in schools can facilitate learning experiences that benefit students. To help students prepare for work or higher education, teachers need to create learning experiences that support an increase in the student's ability to be independent learners, analyze information and solve real world problems. Technology can support and enhance learning opportunities for students to develop these skills. Despite the benefit to children, some teachers do not use technology in their practice.
The study examined the outcomes of a two year professional development instructional technology initiative for eight elementary teachers in a suburban school district. A professional development model, which included cohort collaboration, multiple strategies, and job embedded experiences, was used to help teachers to incorporate technology into their practice. Five sources of evidence, surveys from administrators and teachers, and interviews from teachers, computer aides and the staff developer were used to examine the outcomes of the initiative. The evidence identified a change in teacher practice that included an increase in; the self-reported frequency of use of the technology, the use of computers for research and project-based learning and the Internet for instruction. The evidence identified a change in teacher practice that was consistent with the Phases of Instructional Change identified by Dwyer, Ringstaff, and Sandholtz (1990). The professional development facilitated a change in teacher belief to a more student-centered role. Student outcomes included more independent learning, increased student motivation to learn, student problem solving and oral communication skills.
Implications for practice include the use of the findings of the study to improve instructional technology professional development that results in outcomes that benefit students.
0530: Teacher education
0524: Elementary education