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Engaging K-12 Teachers in Technology Tools to Support Electronic and Mobile Learning Through an Online Professional Development Course

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computer Science and Information Technology in K-12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.572.1 - 22.572.14



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Paper Authors


Meltem Alemdar Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Meltem Alemdar is a Research Scientist in the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Alemdar has experience evaluating programs that fall under the umbrella of educational evaluation, including K-12 educational curricula, after-school programs, and comprehensive school reform initiatives. Across these evaluations, she has used a variety of evaluation methods, ranging from multi-level evaluation plans designed to assess program impact to monitoring plans designed to facilitate program improvement. Dr. Alemdar’s leadership evaluation work includes serving as lead evaluator on NASA’s electronic Professional Development Network (ePDN), a new initiative dedicated to preparing teachers to engage their students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields through the use of NASA-developed learning materials and resources. She also serves as the lead evaluator on several NSF funded Noyce Scholarship programs. She has direct experience leading evaluation of STEM programs and has contributed to evaluations of leadership and STEM related innovations.

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Tony Docal Georgia Institute of Technology

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Mr. Anthony Docal
Anthony Docal has been President of ORBIT Education, Inc. (OEI) a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization since its founding in 1997. OEI provides Professional Development opportunities in STEM related fields to pre-college educators, as well as student programs.

Anthony Docal has extensive experience in developing and managing STEM programs for the K-12 community. In 1997, he managed the four-week professional development activity, Summer Teacher Enhancement Program (STEP) for the Kennedy Space Center Education Office. He has developed multi-disciplinary curriculum modules for elementary and middle school grades in various areas including Aeronautics and the Underground Railroad.

After coming to CEISMC at Georgia Tech in 1997, Mr. Docal served as Program Director for Kids Interested In Discovering Science (KIDS) Club and student Summer Enrichment Programs which often included a professional development component for educators involved in those activities.

Mr. Docal has been involved in numerous NASA sponsored activities, including Director of the NASA Educators Resource Center in Georgia which he established in 1992 at Southern Polytechnic State University; Regional Director for the NASA Space Science Student Involvement Program (SSIP) and Co-PI the final year of the NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP); faculty coordinator for the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP); and consultant to the NASA Office of Space Science Broker/Facilitator institutions at the College of Charleston (SERCH) and the Center for Educational Technologies, Wheeling Jesuit University, (MARSSB). Mr. Docal has supported educator workshops at Kennedy Space Center and the Pre-Service Institute at Langley Research Center. Mr. Docal has been an affiliate member of the NASA sponsored Georgia Space Grant Consortium since 1992 and OEI has been an affiliate institution member since its establishment in 1997.

Currently Mr. Docal is Co-PI on the NASA electronic Professional Development Network (ePDN) a program that provides on-line courses for educators focused on STEM and NASA themes and supports teacher training programs at Kennedy Space Center through a partnership with NSTA and the GE Foundation.

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Engaging K-12 Teachers in Technology Tools to Support Electronic and Mobile Learning Through an Online Professional Development Course
With the rapid expansion of access to collaborative technology tools and mobile devices, mobilelearning (“m-learning”), has quickly spread into the k-12 environment. While electronic learning(“e-learning”) is viewed as electronically supported learning and teaching where a stationarycomputer and access to the internet are involved, m-learning can occur anywhere at any time andsupports a society that is constantly becoming more mobile. Today, teachers can use resourcessuch as podcasts to enhance their lesson plans, provide support outside of the classroom tostudents and parents, participate in professional development, as well as engage students in thedesign and production of projects that can be shared through portable technologies such as mp3players and mobile phones. Podcasts can deliver content in audio and/or video formats atanytime and anyplace without requiring the user to be connected to a computer.In 2009, NASA awarded Georgia Tech a contract to develop online professional development(PD) courses for STEM teachers. The Technology Integration Certificate consists of four coursesdesigned to help teachers become more comfortable with technology tools and integrate them intheir classrooms. Among the courses within the Technology Integration Certificate, the Engageand Educate – Podcasts In The Classroom course provides participants with examples of howpodcasts can be integrated in classroom lessons to engage students in STEM disciplines. Duringthe course, the pros and cons of podcasts are examined and participants are introduced to thetools and techniques for creating podcasts. Through an on-line blog, participants review podcastscurrently available through iTunes and other interfaces and share their views on each podcast’spotential usefulness in a classroom setting. For a final project, participants create their ownpodcasts, first designing them using storyboards and then creating an mp3 file that is sharedthrough an RSS feed.The Engage and Educate – Podcasts In The Classroom course was piloted in the spring andoffered in the summer of 2010. A formative evaluation was conducted where qualitative datawas collected from the following sources: online evaluations by course participants, threadeddiscussions, and focus groups consisting of course participants. These data revealed not onlyhigh satisfaction with the course but also showed that teacher participants understood thebenefits of using podcasts in the classroom. Further, they agreed that the use of podcasts in theclassroom will engage students in learning through the opportunity to express their opinions,argue points of view, and share ideas.In this study, we will describe our online courses and their impact on teachers’ professionaldevelopment. In addition, upon completion of the podcast course, we will investigate thelongitudinal effects of the course by exploring how podcasts were used in the classroom setting.The principle research method employed in this study is to develop aggregate narratives. Thenarratives describe the effectiveness of the podcast course from the perspective of each courseparticipant.

Alemdar, M., & Docal, T. (2011, June), Engaging K-12 Teachers in Technology Tools to Support Electronic and Mobile Learning Through an Online Professional Development Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17853

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