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Flexibly Adaptive Professional Development in Support of Teaching Science with Geospatial Technology

Abstract

The flexibly adaptive model of professional development, developed in the GIT Ahead project, enables secondary science teachers to incorporate a variety of geospatial technology applications into wide-ranging classroom contexts. Teacher impacts were evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively. Post-questionnaire responses showed significant growth in teachers’ perceived technological expertise, interest, and ability to integrate geospatial technology into their science teaching. Application of the Technical Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework to three case studies illustrates such growth. Crucial aspects of professional development in support of teaching science with geospatial technology include intensive training, ongoing support, a supportive learning community, and flexibility in terms of support provided and implementation expectations. Implications are presented for design of professional development and use of TPACK in evaluating impacts.

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    For example, anonymous surveys at the end of each Saturday workshop included the question, “The day as a whole—was your time well spent?” Responses to this question averaged 3.8 across the six workshops, with 1 = Not useful, 2 = Slightly useful, 3 = Useful, and 4 = Very useful. (Similar responses reflected satisfaction in pace and degree of difficulty of the overall experience, and utility of individual activities at each workshop.)

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Acknowledgments

We appreciate the comments and suggestions offered by three anonymous reviewers and the editors of this journal. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under DUE Grant No 0602751. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NSF. For more information about GIT Ahead, see http://fli.hws.edu/gitahead/.

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Correspondence to Nancy M. Trautmann.

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Trautmann, N.M., MaKinster, J.G. Flexibly Adaptive Professional Development in Support of Teaching Science with Geospatial Technology. J Sci Teacher Educ 21, 351–370 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-009-9181-4

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Keywords

  • TPACK or TPCK
  • In-service education
  • Professional development
  • Geospatial technology
  • GIS
  • Google Earth