Working within : the pedagogy and practice of technology professional development
Many researchers have been critical of teachers’ failure to implement computer use effectively in the classroom. In order to question the role that pedagogical issues may play in the success of the implementation process, this study looks at the beliefs of professional developers who are responsible for helping K-12 teachers learn to teach with computers. Five professional developers from Saskatchewan were asked to describe their professional practice by focusing on what they thought effective use of computers was and how they thought their beliefs affected their practice. The heart of the study was the story of the professional developers’ experiences and the way in which their practices evolved over time to meet needs they saw.The professional developers were a diverse group of former teachers. They had taught in a wide variety of settings and for varied lengths of time. They were purposefully selected for involvement in provincial initiatives and providing professional development around computers in their home divisions. The participants shared their experiences through an informal semi-structured interview and follow up questions. The transcripts of the conversations comprised the data, and their examples, statements of belief, and experiences formed the basis for the interpretation of the results.The findings revealed that the professional developers identified both first and second order barriers to the use of computers in classrooms. Each person described a transition from traditional professional development practice to a personal style with the deliberate addition of pedagogical emphasis. They concluded that the current practice of teaching with computers generally did not meet their definition of effective and emphasized the need to question why computers are being used the way they are.The findings from this study indicate that the professional developers believed their pedagogy and practice as professional developers to be intertwined. They also confirmed Coopla’s (2004) argument that pedagogy is the critical first element for effective teaching with computers. From the prospective of the participants, pedagogy, not technology defines how effective the process of integration is in K-12 classrooms.
epistemology, computers, technology integration, professional development, pedagogy, technology, barriers
Master of Education (M.Ed.)