maandag 28 november 2011

Designing a professional development program: a reflection (part two)

As I already stated in my latest post, here I will reflect upon my experiences with working with TPACK and my ideas about how to stimulate teachers to integrate technology in education.

Working with TPACK
In this course it was the first time that I had to work with the TPACK model. Designing a good program to let teachers learn about TPACK was more difficult than I thought it would be. Since we had already a lot of lectures in which we discussed the model, I figured it would not be that difficult. But when we were busy with designing the program, it is hard to think up a good way in which teachers first will learn about TPACK and later on also gain the skills of using TPACK in their lessons. Ensuring that the teachers are able to integrate it in their own education is a real challenge. For the teachers it is a totally new way of designing a lesson, which teachers have not experienced before like in teacher-training for instance. They know how to make a design for a lesson but integrating all aspects of the TPACK model takes some time to learn. That is why it will take a lot of time for them to develop skills to really integrate TPACK in their lessons.
In a program to teach people about TPACK it is important to also measure their TPACK-skills in the beginning and at the end so you know the progress they made. In the program we designed, I think it was quite difficult to choose a good measurement tool. Since our target group is a foundation, the literature we received during the lecture about TPACK measurement did not really fit to our context. We also read that it is better to have a combination of instruments instead of just one instrument. We had already decided to use the questionnaire of Graham et al. (2009) and we could not find a good way to combine this questionnaire with another instrument. The other instruments we found or did not fit with our context or they measured the same as the questionnaire already chosen.
After choosing the questionnaire we had to make the decision for when the teachers would have to fill this in: before they were told about the TPACK model or after? We choose to let them fill in the questionnaire before telling them about TPACK, since the TPACK model might scare them off.

Now at the end of the course, my opinion about the TPACK model is still the same as in the post about the added value: ‘I think the TPACK model can be really useful to help teachers to make meaningful use of technology in education since teachers are forced to look at each individual aspect and how to combine these aspects.’ And I think for me it was a very nice experience to take a look at how the TPACK model could be used in practice by designing a professional development program ourselves. By working with it you can see how many factors you have to take into account if you want to design a useful program.

Stimulating teachers to integrate technology in education 
I think that it is a tough job to ensure teachers will integrate technology in their education. For example there are conservative teachers who have a negative view on technology which is hard to get rid of. Next to that, a lot of teachers do not feel confident when they have to adapt to a new method and it takes a lot of time before they build up sufficient confidence.
There are different ways to stimulate teachers to integrate technology in education. Important activities you have to do, are in my view:

  •      Show the teachers and let them experience it is not that difficult to use technology in their lessons. For example in one of the meetings in our program we invited a teacher who has already a lot of experience with using technology in his lessons and asked him to give a lesson and tell about his experiences. In this way the teachers can see that this person succeeded in using technology and in the lesson they can see that using it is not that difficult.
  •      Show the teachers the benefits of the use of technology in education. If we use the same example of the invited teacher: this teacher can also show how much fun it can be to use technology. In this way you can also show the benefits like learner motivation and creating new opportunities for the lessons. Also according to the five-stage model of Niess (2008) the first step in the process by which a person makes a decision to adopt or reject innovations should be showing that technology can contribute to their education.
  •     Providing guidance. I think it is important that the teachers are provided with clear guidelines so they can very easily try to use technology. A good guidance could be the TPACK model with a good explanation. Next to it is important that there is someone available to ask questions and who gives advice.
  •    Be careful with the pace of introducing new things. I think it is very important to introduce the new method step by step, since rushing can be very de-motivating for teachers. The teachers have to feel each step as a new challenge they can handle, because if they have the feeling it is too difficult their motivation will drop. You should try to avoid to pressurize the teachers and make them feel unconfident.  
 As you can see, in my opinion there are different aspects which are important for stimulating teachers to integrate technology. I think every time it will be a real challenge to ensure teachers are really integrating technology in their lessons. One of the basic ingredients is ‘enthusiasm’. I think this is true for every innovation. At the start there should be someone/a few people (and hopefully the school leader as well!) who is/are very motivated to use technology in the classroom. Like I stated before there also needs to be someone to show the benefits and that using technology is not that difficult.

How do you think about stimulating teachers? Did I leave out something important?

This is already my last post for this course. The way of working was totally new for me. But I can see that I really liked it. It surely is a nice way of working with technology which fits perfectly in a course focused on TPACK!

Graham, C. R., Burgoyne, N., Cantrell, P., Smith, L., St. Clair, L., & Harris, R. (2009). TPACK Development in Science Teaching: Measuring the TPACK Confidence of Inservice Science Teachers, TechTrends, Special Issue on TPACK, 53(5), 70-79.

Niess, M. L. (2008). Knowledge needed for teaching with technologies – Call it TPACK. AMTE Connections, 17(2), 9-10.

1 opmerking:

  1. I think inviting a teacher who already has experience with using technology in his/her lessons and letting him/her tell about his experiences is a very strong point, because he or she is one of the team, not an outsider that tells them what to do!