ISTE Student Standard
5: Professional Learning Facilitator
Coaches plan, provide and evaluate the impact of professional learning for educators and leaders to use technology to advance teaching and learning. Coaches:
a. Design professional learning based on needs assessments and frameworks for working with adults to support their cultural, social-emotional and learning needs.
c. Evaluate the impact of professional learning and continually make improvements to meet the school wide vision for using technology for high-impact teaching and learning.
According the Gess- Newsome and Clark (2003), professional development is a perennial challenge in education. With the integration of technology in education, we are utilizing technology as alternative tools to help us in meeting this challenge. However, with our increased access to technological tools, we need an effective framework to examine how to best capitalize on technology to improve professional development outcomes which will lead to the success of student learning outcome. Our new challenge is to use a framework to assess carefully the impact of the infusion of technology on teacher professional development and find out if teachers’ learning needs are being supported.
Teachers are viewed as needing expert knowledge, and professional development is viewed as the development of expertise in teaching. Gess- Newsome and Clark (2003) introduced several characteristics of expert knowledge. First, expert knowledge is deep and developed over time. Second, expert knowledge is organized and connected to big ideas. Furthermore, expert knowledge facilitates future learning and application.
Teacher professional development is a process and not an event. The challenge to professional development is not so much the number of teachers that need to be impacted but the commitment of time for sustained interaction with teachers while they examine their knowledge and beliefs. Gess- Newsome and Clark (2003) further introduced the five general principles of effective professional development.
- Professional development must be grounded in the context of a teacher’s classroom.
- Professional development must be developmentally appropriate.
- Professional development takes time.
- Professional development must contain the elements that promote learning.
- Professional development must allow teachers to take charge of their own professional growth.
In addition to these five general principles to assess the effectiveness of teacher professional learning, another framework is TPACK. TPACK is a well-known model for educators as they begin to use digital tools and strategies to support teaching and learning. This model, developed by educational researchers Mishra and Kohler (2006), is designed around the idea that content and pedagogy must be the basis for any technology that teachers plan to use in classroom to enhance learning.
The circles in the TPACK diagram represent content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technical knowledge. The areas where the circles overlap — where the three kinds of knowledge combine — can be explained as follows:
- Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is the knowledge that teachers have about their content and the knowledge that they have about how teach that specific content.
- Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK) is the set of skills, identified by Mishra and Kohler in 2006, which teachers develop to identify the best technology to support a particular pedagogical approach.
- Technological Content Knowledge (TCK) is the set of skills, also identified by Mishra and Kohler in 2006, which teachers acquire to help identify the best technologies to support their students as they learn content.
Jaipal-Jamani and Figg (2015) shared a case study of a technology professional development initiative and illustrates how a workshop approach based on technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge (TPACK) was adapted for professional learning at a school site. The design of the professional development was informed by the underlying assumptions of the TPACK framework and characteristics for effective professional development for science and technology-enhanced teaching.
The findings from this study showed that content-centric technology professional development that involves collaboration among a small group of teachers around a common content area and an authentic classroom activity, with technical and content area support from experts, supports the transformation of teachers’ theoretical teaching ideas and hypothetical teaching activities into actual teaching practice. The study makes a theoretical contribution by proposing that TPACK is developed through a combination of workshop experiences and immediate application of knowledge gained in the workshop into practice in the real-life teaching context(Jaipal-Jamani & Figg, 2015).
Finally, here are some of the professional development resources mentioned in the Technology infused professional development: A framework for development and analysis might be beneficial for further research.
- The National Staff Development Council (NSDC) is an international network of educators committed to improving teaching and learning by providing high quality professional development opportunities.
- The U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology supports the national technology plan and promotes the use of technology for educational purposes.
- The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory offers a site that assists in planning professional development in technology.
- Apple Learning Interchange offers an online location where educators are encouraged to discuss issues surrounding effective instructional technology and share successful teaching strategies using a variety of media.
- The George Lucas Educational Foundation collects and publicizes innovative instructional technology practices.
Gess-Newsome, J., Blocher, M., Clark, J., Menasco, J., & Willis, E. (2003). Technology infused professional development: A framework for development and analysis. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 3(3), 324-340.
Shulman, L.S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(1), 4-14.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for integrating technology in teachers’ knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108 (6), 1017–1054.
Jaipal-Jamani, K., & Figg, C. (2015). A case study of a TPACK-based approach to teacher professional development: Teaching science with blogs. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 15(2), 161-200.