Effecting Change in the Classroom Through Professional Development

Effecting Change in the Classroom Through Professional Development

Catherine Schifter (Temple University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-765-2.ch014
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Over the last 10 to 15 years, a vast amount of money has been invested in computer technology for public education, including establishing or upgrading computer labs, school and classroom connectivity to the Internet and wide area networks, and providing at least one Internet-ready computer per classroom. The Department of Education’s Education Rate, or E-Rate, initiative has made access to computing and Internet connectivity easier, reducing the ratio of students to computers to the 5 to 1 ratio that “many experts consider . . . a reasonable level for the effective use of computers within the schools.” (President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology 1997, p. 14, as cited in Cattagni and Farris, 2001) In addition, we have seen the introduction of mobile computer labs in schools and, more recently, smartboard technology in classrooms. Each innovation has represented a decision by a school district to use scarce resources to bring computing power into classrooms to affect teaching and learning. However, just because tools are present in classrooms does not mean teachers know how to make the most of those tools, so professional development opportunities have been created to help the teachers learn how to use the tools. Not all professional development programs have been equal in helping teachers make the most of new technologies in their classrooms.

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