Professional Development for Technology Integration into Differentiated Math Instruction

Professional Development for Technology Integration into Differentiated Math Instruction

Jackie HeeYoung Kim (Armstrong State University, USA), Ardyth Foster (Armstrong State University, USA) and Moon-Heum Cho (Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2000-9.ch001
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Abstract

To make a connection between pedagogy and technology in teaching, this chapter will explore whether or not a professional development design and practice, whose aim is to help teachers use technology for personal purposes, readily translates into the ability to effectively teach and learn with technology. Adopting a conceptual framework known as self-efficacy beliefs and TPACK, or technological pedagogical content knowledge (Mishra & Koehler, 2006), this chapter discusses the design of a professional development model, the goal of which is increasing the critical attribute of the successful professional development: self-efficacy. In an effort to provide empirical knowledge to support this design, this chapter further showcases a faculty member's approaches to connecting technology and pedagogy using the TPACK approach, while implementing a model designed to improve teachers' self-efficacy. Implications and guidelines for developing teachers' self-efficacy, through activities during the professional development workshop, are discussed.
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Introduction

Researchers have asserted that problems associated with technology integration may have much less to do with access and technical mastery of technology, and much more to do with effective use in practice (Al-Awidi & Alghazo, 2012; Jenkins et al., 2006; Niess, 2005). Understanding appropriate pedagogical practices for using technology can be more important to effective instruction than technical mastery of technology, although both elements are essential. Extensive training in both pedagogy and technology are needed, through ongoing professional development opportunities. To make a connection between pedagogy and technology in teaching, this chapter will explore whether or not a professional development design and practice, whose aim is to help teachers use technology for personal purposes, readily translates into the ability to effectively teach and learn with technology. Therefore, this chapter adopts a conceptual framework known as self-efficacy beliefs and TPACK, or technological pedagogical content knowledge (Mishra & Koehler, 2006), in the professional development setting. Teachers’ self-efficacy has been reported to play a critical role in their implementation of new teaching strategies presented through professional development. In his model of teacher change, Guskey (1986) hypothesized that the majority of instructional improvement programs fail because they do not take into account what motivates teachers to engage in professional development, and the process by which change in teachers typically takes place. Researchers examining teacher attitudes toward the implementation of new instructional practices have frequently found teachers’ self-efficacy to be among the most powerful influences on receptivity to change (Guskey, 1989; Poole & Okeafor, 1989; Shahid & Thompson, 2001; Smylie, 1988).

The TPACK framework provides a coherent structure that allows educators to better understand sound technology integration. Sound technology integration affects how educators make effective decisions regarding: academic content (or what they will teach), teaching goals, pedagogical methods (or how they will teach), and finally how teachers will assess lesson outcomes. It has also been acknowledged that teacher-training programs should provide teachers with the opportunity to develop integrated knowledge of the subject matter, technology, and pedagogy (Niess, 2005; Polly et al., 2010). The research on which the arguments set forth in this chapter are based, was conducted while executing a Teacher Quality State Grant Professional Development Initiative in two of Georgia’s high-need public schools.

We will first locate complex, current challenges in teaching teachers about technology integration into differentiated math instruction. These challenges inhibit the transformation of professional development from traditional, random acts happening to teachers, into a systematic and collaborative process happening through teachers. Secondly, we will move to discuss the design of the differentiated instruction professional development model, with technology integration geared towards increasing self-efficacy, the critical attribute of successful professional development. We will then proceed to showcase a faculty member’s approaches to connecting technology and pedagogy during the professional development workshops. We will also present implications and guidelines for developing teachers’ self-efficacy during the professional development workshop, which is designed to expand teachers’ repertoire in technology integration into differentiated instruction. The chapter will conclude with considerations that should be examined while executing the technology-integration model in professional development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Differentiation: Adapt instruction based upon students’ interests, learning styles, and readiness, which are critical elements to consider in attempting to address the diverse needs of students.

Teacher Education: refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community.

Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK): Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) attempts to identify the nature of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration into their teaching, while addressing the complex, multifaceted and situated nature of teacher knowledge. The TPACK framework extends Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge.

Pedagogy: The method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

Technology Integration: Technology Integration is the use of technology in general content areas in education in order to allow students to apply computer and technology skills to learning and problem-solving. Generally speaking, the curriculum drives the use of technology and not vice versa.

Self-Efficacy: Individual’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations.

Knowing-Doing Gap: A gap that exists between what people in organizations know and what they actually implement in their practice.

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