Developing a Teacher Training Technology Workshop Series

Developing a Teacher Training Technology Workshop Series

Paul Joseph Stengel (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3676-7.ch020
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During the summer of 2010, a graduate school of education (GSE) at a leading research university launched a 14-month teacher residency program (TRP) aimed at producing high quality teachers for urban schools that need them the most. Guided by a framework of inclusive education (Hamre & Oyler, 2004), residents were scheduled to complete various components of teachers education, including a technology component designed to familiarize residents in the use of new media web technologies to purposefully enhance teaching and learning. The educational technologist (ET) charged with the development of the workshops for this program decided to focus on helping residents think about meaningful methods to teach for understanding with technology. The framework supplies a flexible set of guidelines that help developing teachers see how technology may provide “significant educational leverage” (Wiske et al., 2005). Although this approach has been successful for building a framework for the workshops, a series of challenges have developed that must be addressed before proceeding to the training of the next cohort. These challenges include providing time for residents to practice new skills taught during the workshop sessions, solving the varied access to up-to-date technologies in under-resourced urban school classroom placements, identifying and harnessing technology platforms that are ubiquitous, inexpensive, and accessible to stakeholders inside and outside the university system, and maintaining workshop sessions that are relevant to the theory taught in various tracks of the TRP. This case study outlines the instructional design process the ET used to approach the development of the workshops for the technology component of the TRP.
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Organization Background

The School of Education and the Teaching Resident Program

The GSE, where the TRP takes place, is one of the oldest and largest graduate schools of education in the United States. Recently the school launched the TRP and recruited students from various backgrounds all with limited or no teaching experience. Eligible candidates did not hold a teaching certificate and demonstrated an interest in developing learner-centered lessons that respond to the needs of a diverse number of students in under resourced urban schools. Most residents demonstrated high academic achievement earning at least a bachelor's degree as well as a passion for teaching and learning.

In the fall of 2010, the TRP accepted about twenty students to a 14-month program that provided the admitted residents experience teaching in urban schools while completing coursework toward a master’s degree from the GSE. Over time, the TRP will scale for 80 students in each annual cohort. Once residents graduate from the 14-month program, they become teachers of record for the local city school district and continue to receive mentor support from the TRP during a three year period called induction.

For the technology component of the program, the TRP project manager (PM) contacted a campus new media teaching and learning technology group (NMTLTG) for support with developing and delivering a series of technology workshops for teaching residents. The objective of the technology integration component was to provide residents with examples and opportunities to use technology within a framework of inclusive education. Based on work by Hamre and Oyler, this means that the technology workshops contained objectives to help residents consider ways that new media technologies can help “to plan instruction for a wide range of learners” (2004). These technologies also needed to be accessible to a wide range of learners with various abilities and access to adaptive technologies.

The New Media Teaching and Learning Technology Group

Located on the university campus, the NMTLTG is a service organization that provides faculty with support in using new media in the classroom. With over ten years of experience on campus, this group has helped over 5,000 instructors and developed over 200 projects with the objective to provide the most supportive experience possible for faculty interested in using new media technologies in courses. With multiple offices on the university campus, the group has a direct influence on the culture of technology use in the university’s classrooms.

As a primary instructional design principle, whenever possible the staff of the NMTLTG are committed to seeing a design research cycle through to the completion of a project or service. The ET team is charged with the task to manage the work needed to complete and evaluate the process. The design research process helps to guide the development and evaluation of projects in successful ways. Bereiter (2002) and Edelson (2002) discuss the benefits of design research in depth, and the cycle used by the NMTLTG calls upon Bereiter’s and Edelson’s work. Bereiter sees design research as a disciplined process defined by the goals of stakeholders that are dedicated to evaluating implementations of an innovation and studying actionable evidence to develop new iterations. In a university setting, the implementation of an innovation for one semester often provides enough actionable data to revise goals and make changes to the innovation in an effort to try a revised implementation of the tool or service at the next course offering. Evaluation data may take the form of but are not limited to student assessment artifacts, surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews.

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