Online Mathematics Teacher Professional Development

Online Mathematics Teacher Professional Development

Sandra B. Nite (Texas A&M University, USA) and Ali Bicer (University of Wyoming, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1476-4.ch012
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The purpose of this chapter is to describe an online learning environment that has been used for professional development with mathematics teachers and can be used for pre-service teacher education. The description of the Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate combination for the mathematics teacher education enables teachers to collaboratively engage in inquiry, reasoning and justification, and technology integration as participants. In addition, teachers can have opportunities to discuss various ways to incorporate these ideas more fully into their instructional practices.
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One of the most critical factors in mathematics education is providing students the opportunity to learn (NCTM, 2012). An important factor in the opportunity for high student achievement is teacher effectiveness (NCTM, 2016). The perspective for this research is based on the premise that teacher effectiveness can be improved though professional development (PD) that supports and mentors teachers to implement effective teaching practices that require student mathematical reasoning and justification and promote better questioning in the classroom (NCTM, 2014).

Strategies to provide deeper learning opportunities for students include the requirement of mathematical reasoning and justification. Embedded in facilitation of student justification of mathematical principles is effective questioning – not a single question, but a series of questions. One effective cycle is 1) various forms of questions that address different levels of challenge, 2) questions that lead toward generalization, 3) questions that require justification of mathematical processes and answers, and 4) questions that are conducive to a variety of problem-solving strategies (Mata-Pereira, 2017). Implementing these strategies in mathematics classrooms can enable students to communicate their mathematical reasoning with others. When students find opportunities to raise questions, provide justification of mathematical processes, and create solution paths to lead toward generalization, their mathematical learning becomes meaningful rather than rote-memorization. Student engagement in mathematics discourse and achievement can be increased when teachers use high quality guiding and probing questions (Dong, Seah, & Clarke, 2015; Sahin, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning Management System (LMS): Is a software application that is used in education and other professional fields to delivery educational courses and/or training programs.

Synchronous Events: Are those that occur at a given time, with all the participants present, whether physically or virtually, with the ability to communicate with no more than minute time lapses.

Community: As it relates to the teaching profession means a group of teachers, whether in the same or different schools or school districts, whether the same or different subject areas, or other characteristics, who form relationships that increase their comfort in working collaboratively to solve problems related to their work in the classroom.

Collaboration: Is working together to create or produce something. In the field of teaching, collaboration occurs when teachers work together to create or refine curriculum, increase their knowledge about content or pedagogy, find ways to better engage and facilitate learning among students, and other tasks that are part of the professional work of teachers.

Asynchronous Events: Are those that are not intended to exist at the same time for all participants. Each one accesses the tools and resources at his/her own convenience. Communication and collaboration occur through messaging that is not necessarily instant or in quick succession.

Professional Development: Refers to informal (not college credit) learning that occurs throughout a person’s career. In this paper, it refers to such learning in regard to teachers.

Technology: In the context of education, refers to equipment or tools, especially with electronic parts, that are used to facilitate learning, whether used by the teacher alone, the students alone, or both students and teachers, inside or outside the classroom.

Inquiry-Based Learning: Is a type of learning in which the teacher is primarily a facilitator or learning rather than a giver of knowledge. The teacher uses various strategies to engage students in the learning through their interest to inquire about concepts and skills and their use in real life situations.

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