The use of Internet-based university courses as a tool for professional development of K-12 teachers
Laura Esthela Sujo de Montes, New Mexico State University, United States
New Mexico State University . Awarded
Recently, schools have been making efforts to bring technology into the classrooms. However, they have often failed to recognize the professional development needs of the teacher in how to integrate technology into their curriculum. As a result, some teachers have turned to university-based courses to update and/or refine their skills. However, these courses are usually place-bound and not always a viable option for busy adults, who sometimes need to travel long distances, or who already have multiple family and community commitments. On the other hand, distance education, in an asynchronous mode, provides a convenient option for busy adults to attend classes.
The present study investigated a constructivist university course that used Internet- based asynchronous telecommunications as an option for the professional development of K–12 teachers. In order to gain insights into the situation under research, a mixed quantitative/qualitative study was proposed to examine and compare the different dynamics that exist in both face-to-face and an in online classrooms. After participating in the investigated classes, quantitative student outcomes were compared using parametric and nonparametric procedures. The points of comparison were: (1) the participants' achievement as measured by class products, (2) the frequency and perceived effectiveness of teacher-oriented, student-oriented, and technology-oriented strategies in the participants' own classrooms, and (3) the change in the participants' attitude towards technology integration into their daily practice. For the qualitative analysis, content analysis and analysis of emerging themes were used to understand the students' perceptions in areas such as class effectiveness and levels of class satisfaction, professor-student mentoring relationships, and other class dynamics.
The researcher concluded that: (1) there was no difference between these classes in terms of student achievement as measured by class products, (2) participants did not change their frequency and perceived effectiveness of teacher-oriented, student-oriented, and technology-oriented strategies, (3) online and face-to-face students changed their attitudes positively toward technology integration into their own classrooms, and (4) participants perceived both classes as being equally satisfying and effective in updating and/or refining their technology skills. Additionally, the researcher found that online participants made more gains than their face-to-face counterparts in aspects such as, group work and problem solving, and that the way online students feel during the experience is as important as the class content itself.
Sujo de Montes, L.E. The use of Internet-based university courses as a tool for professional development of K-12 teachers. Ph.D. thesis, New Mexico State University.
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