Conversations about Teaching and Technology: A Support Group for Teacher Professional Development
Andrew Topper, Michigan State University, United States
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, ISBN 978-1-880094-33-4 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
Major political and societal forces are coming together to create an unprecedented push to infuse technology into K-12 schools. This infusion represents a serious challenge and an opportunity for teachers and researchers to better understand how technology is shaped by and shapes beliefs about teaching and learning. This study examines the relationships between teacher knowledge and beliefs about teaching, learning, and technology, and plans and talk about technology within a support group. The conversations we had as a group became a focal point for my analysis as I examined the content of these discussions, the social organization of the group, and changes in participation patterns over time. These patterns reveal changes in group leadership and conversational norms that allowed the teachers to engage in substantive pedagogical discussions, stimulated by talk about technology, and to negotiate group goals. The content of these conversations also reveals that these teachers' beliefs and knowledge of teaching and learning, along with their assumptions about student abilities and external pressures they feel, shape the plans they made for teaching with technology. This study provides evidence that a conversational forum for technology learning allows teachers opportunities to make public their taken-for-granted assumptions about teaching and learning, begin to examine these assumptions in a supportive social context, build confidence with technology, and ultimately take a more active role in school decision making related to technology adoption.
Topper, A. (1999). Conversations about Teaching and Technology: A Support Group for Teacher Professional Development. In J. Price, J. Willis, D. Willis, M. Jost & S. Boger-Mehall (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 1999--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 741-745). Chesapeake, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).