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Teacher professional development through digital content evaluation

Abstract

In this study, researchers designed and implemented a 1-year professional development (PD) program that focused on supporting teachers in evaluating and selecting digital learning contents. Participants in this investigation included 109 teachers who consented to the study amongst a total of 171 teachers from five school districts across central Ohio. In addition to their participation in the PD program, they completed surveys, interviews, and self-reflections in this mixed-method study. The results revealed that teachers’ perceived TPACK increased over time throughout the PD program, suggesting that training teachers to evaluate digital contents can be an effective PD model to improve teachers’ capacity in learning technology integration. The PD program was especially effective for teachers with less prior experience in technology integration or related training. Mathematics teachers, in comparison to teachers from other disciplines, began with low TPACK; however, these initial differences gradually diminished over the course of the PD program. In terms of their motivation in digital content evaluation, teachers’ expectancy for success increased significantly while their task values remained medium high. The qualitative analyses provided additional insights and revealed design suggestions for success in future PDs.

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Acknowledgements

The study reported in this paper is based upon work in the EDCITE: Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence project supported by the Straight A Fund from the Ohio Department of Education. The conclusions and recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Ohio Department of Education.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 6.

Table 6 EDCITE PD curriculum

Appendix 2

See Table 7.

Table 7 Rubric for Digital Content Evaluation

Appendix 3

Self-reflection protocol

1. Please describe your professional development experiences using specific instances:

  1.  a.

    What valuable things did you find in the course of the professional development? In what ways did the things contribute to your learning and participation?

  2.  b.

    What technologies were employed to support the work of the project? How were the technologies used and integrated with your work?

  3.  c.

    If any, what types of group collaboration were employed? How did the technologies support the group collaboration?

  4.  d.

    What were the issues and difficulties you encountered when you participated in the project? In what ways did you or the project team address the issues?

2. Please describe how you implemented the evaluation of digital curricula:

  1.  a.

    What were your strategies applied into the evaluation? (What was your approach to ensure the quality of your evaluation?)

  2.  b.

    What issues did you encounter in the course of the evaluation? What changes did you make to deal with the issues?

  3.  c.

    Which of the four criteria (i.e., content, pedagogy, technology, and standards alignment) was the easiest to evaluate? Why?

  4.  d.

    Which of the four criteria (i.e., content, pedagogy, technology, and standards alignment) was the most difficult to evaluate? How did you tackle the issue?

  5.  e.

    How did you work with content specialists?

3. Please describe how you implemented or will implement digital curriculum in your class and in your school.

  1.  a.

    If any, what changes did you make in you your classroom teaching on the basis of your project experience?

  2.  b.

    How would you characterize leadership and their colleagues toward the use of digital curriculum? If any, what was the use or plan of digital curriculum in your school?

  3.  c.

    How did you communicate with your school leadership concerning digital curriculum implementation?

  4.  d.

    What was your role in adopting digital curriculum into your school? Were there any changes or expectations after the project participation?

  5.  e.

    How did you connect to and share your lessons with other teachers in your school?

Appendix 4

Interview protocol

Use of digital content/teaching beliefs

  1. 1.

    Are you using technology or digital contents in your teaching?

    1.  a.

      What kinds?

  2. 2.

    What kind of adjustments do you make in your teaching when you incorporate technology and digital content?

  3. 3.

    How do students react when you using digital content?

    1.  a.

      What do you do and your students do in the class?

  4. 4.

    Are there any differences in managing your classroom when using digital content?

    1.  a.

      Are there any ways you are looking to improve in your implementation of technology/digital content in the classroom?

  5. 5.

    What barriers prevent you from using technology/digital content in your classroom?

  6. 6.

    Are you currently looking for additional ways to use technology? How or for what?

Leadership/collaboration

  1. 1.

    Are you sharing your use of digital contents with other teachers in your school more so now that you have participated in this EDCITE project?

  2. 2.

    Are you now as a result of your participation planning/leading up any initiatives in your school regarding technology/digital content?

  3. 3.

    How could you describe your roles and responsibility in your school now that you have this experience and knowledge through participating in this project?

EDCITE PD Evaluation Competency

  1. 1.

    Are you satisfied with the PD provided?

  2. 2.

    Can you describe difficulties/frustrations (or benefits/gains) with the face-to-face PD or online modules?

  3. 3.

    Can you describe difficulties/frustrations (or benefits/gains) with evaluating digital contents in EDCITE project?

  4. 4.

    How did the PD help change your evaluation skills?

  5. 5.

    How was your experience using the Rubric provided? Was it helpful?

  6. 6.

    How did the PD help change your evaluation skills?

  7. 7.

    Do you feel more confident now in evaluating digital content and using tech in the classroom?

  8. 8.

    Is there anything you would share with novice teachers who are evaluating digital content for the first time?

  9. 9.

    Do you have any suggestion for the EDCITE team going forward? Or ideas for the programs PD next year?

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Xie, K., Kim, M.K., Cheng, SL. et al. Teacher professional development through digital content evaluation. Education Tech Research Dev 65, 1067–1103 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-017-9519-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-017-9519-0

Keywords

  • Digital content evaluation
  • Technology integration
  • TPACK
  • Standard alignment
  • Professional development
  • Teacher training