Newark, New Jersey
April 22, 2022
April 22, 2022
April 23, 2022
This paper will explore pathways for providing professional development for K-12 teachers during the time of a pandemic which requires the utilization of a mode of remote education. While K-12 and post-secondary education have shifted from the face-to-face learning to a virtual or distance learning setting for student learning, teacher training and professional development for K-12 teachers have also been affected. The pandemic caused learning loss not only for the students, but also for the teachers. With schools closed and most everyone in “lockdown”, professional development opportunities for teachers became almost non-existent. While their undergraduate degrees and teacher certification provides teachers with the foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to begin classroom instruction, it should also be recognized that continuous professional development for teachers is necessary to ensure that their content knowledge and instructional practices keeps up with the changing base of knowledge and practices required in order to maintain effective classroom instructional practices regardless of the mode of instruction. In addition, teachers need to be prepared to provide effective, engaging learning by using available technology in meaningful ways. Our experience with providing web-based professional development programs for teachers can serve as a model for distance learning programs for teachers, where they can enhance their content knowledge and instructional practices, and also network with others. Two professional development programs are described that can be described as forerunners for present and future mixed modes programs.
The first program was implemented in the mid-1980s, when electronic conferencing was being utilized mostly for communications among academic researchers. A computer conferencing network was created to overcome the seriously limited dissemination of educational materials for K-12 educators, which allowed for communication between individuals, group discussions with a permanent transcript of the proceedings, a repository of educational materials, and an area for group preparation of educational materials. The initial program involved a series of in-person workshops and an electronic network of participants for planning and communications among the participants. In 1990, this became an international network involving teachers and students in other states, and other countries in Europe and Asia, which included joint projects that shared environmental data. The other distance learning program, entitled Virtual Medibotics, was designed to expand the reach of a face-to-face program for NJ teachers, to teachers outside our immediate geographical area by creating a web-based version of the original professional development program, Medibotics. The program, reaching teachers in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, included the creation and implementation of a web-based program that teachers accessed remotely and, as a result of the training, were able to implement, in their classroom. Medibotics involved the application of robotics and information technology to solve biomedical problems.
Lessons learned from these two professional development programs can serve as a framework for the implementation of programs for teachers utilizing different modes of remote learning as well as face-2-face programs.
Kimmel, H. S., & Carpinelli, J. D., & Rockland, R. H., & O’Shea, M. R. (2022, April), Remote Professional Development Opportunities for K-12 Teachers during a Pandemic Paper presented at 2022 Spring ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Conference, Newark, New Jersey. https://peer.asee.org/40067
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