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Jeremy Sands, Stephanie Flores-Koulish, Ph.D.

Instructional Technology and Continuing Professional Development Opportunities for Teachers:  A Professional Learning Community Model

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This study aims to record and analyze the insights and opinions of practicing high school teachers of effective on-site professional development in instructional technology. According to the research, continuing professional development is essential to furthering the educational experience of both learner and teacher and has been found to be most effective when conducted in a collegial and collaborative environment.

This study took place at an all-girls private high school in suburban Washington, DC, and data collection included anonymous surveys, semi-structured interviews and training workshop using the web 2.0 tool VoiceThread. Results indicate that, while teachers want technology training, criticism of existing offerings center around three major themes; the value of time, fear of the unfamiliar and the need for on-level teacher-to-teacher collaboration. Initial analysis of survey and interview data was utilized in the design and implementation of a hands-on workshop using VoiceThread. Upon completion of the workshop, teachers overwhelmingly found the training experience to be positive and indicated excitement in the potential classroom inclusion of VoiceThread in the curriculum. School administrators and instructional technology specialists are encouraged to incorporate current research practices, such as anonymous surveys and one-on-one interviews with teachers, to design and constantly refine effective training workshops in the area of instructional technology.

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