Innovations in the Use of Technology and Teacher Professional Development

Innovations in the Use of Technology and Teacher Professional Development

Donald E. Scott (University of Calgary, Canada) and Shelleyann Scott (University of Calgary, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-780-5.ch010
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This chapter explores the innovative uses of technology for teachers’ professional development as well as its impact in the classroom on learning and teaching. Two international case studies are included. The first outlines technological innovations in graduate programme delivery within the university context in Canada. The second case presents a multi-dimensional professional development initiative in Australia which has influenced teachers’ and students’ learning. Two models are described: the macrooriented “Webs of Enhanced Practice” that addresses the professional development of educators and experts; and the micro-oriented “Webs of Enhanced Learning” focusing on the learning occurring at the classroom level. These two models represent innovations in the use of technology as they conceptualise the eclectic use of multi-modal, varied technologies to advance the professional development of communities of learners.
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Technology has radically altered human civilisation. Few nations have not been affected in some way by the technological advances of the 20th and 21st centuries. Evidence from the 21st century indicates that technological change and adoption is not slowing, rather it is increasing at an almost exponential pace. Education, both in the schools and institutions of higher education, has similarly been affected by increasing accessibility to technology. As Levine and Sun indicate new technologies, in particular the Internet, have greatly influenced the opportunities to access education, interact with others, and to “disseminate knowledge to an exponentially large number of people than ever before” (2002, p. 1). This also applies to opportunities for accessing ongoing teacher professional development. This chapter outlines two main perspectives in relation to innovations in the use of technology and teacher professional development. The first perspective is that new technologies offer increased opportunities to facilitate personal reflection on practice, collegial collaboration, problem-solving, and the production and sharing of teaching resources through the creation of online professional development communities. The second perspective is that teachers need professional development to become comfortable and innovative in their use of these technologies in order to relate to technologically-adept students in schools and to integrate information communication technology (ICT) into their classroom activities.

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