Virtual School Meanderings

April 2, 2010

SITE 2010: Teacher Professional Development And Outcomes: The Case Of The Quebec Remote Networked Schools Initiative

SITEThe final session for the Virtual Schooling SIG is a group of three brief papers here at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) conference. The first is described as:

Teacher professional development and outcomes: The case of the Quebec remote networked schools initiative

Christine Hamel, Laval University, Canada
Thérèse Laferrière, Laval University, Canada

Teacher professional development (TPD) embedded in a systemic initiative was the object of study, and the focus was put on TPD outcomes. To better understand teacher learning using collaborative technologies classroom talk was analyzed within and between networked classrooms in terms of assimilation or accommodation processes (Seidel & Perez, 1994). The data consisted of previous studies’ results put together to develop an integrated view of TPD outcomes in the context of the Remote Networked Schools (RNS) initiative. This view is offered as an exemplar of ICT integration for enhancing the classroom learning environment.

While Thérèse was going to talk primarily about the professional development within this program, she did tell us that the RNS initiative involved 60 rural French-language schools – most of which are multi-graded.

The goal of this specific project was to provide on-demand, professional development for teaching and learning with information communications technologies.  The study examining this project is using a design model, which is conducted in cycles with revisions to the intervention after each cycle to improve the chances to impact the local system involved in the study.

The project is based on a model outlined by Seidel and Perez (1994), which includes the level of scope (i.e., community to student), stages of technology use and the type of process. There have been over 100 participants, throughout the various cycles.

In terms of the learning process, most of the outcomes were assimilation outcomes.  However, teachers working in collaboration with teachers from other schools was an accommodation outcome.  There was also in increase in the amount of student talk between schools in the network.  Finally, there were several positive outcomes related to how the Knowledge Forum system was used by those involved in the network.  In terms of motivational-affective outcomes, teachers regarded their participation in the RNS as being a positive experience.

As I was the presider in this session too, I wasn’t able to get as many notes on Thérèse’s slides as I was the first two.

Some of the limitations included:

  • teachers were more interested in interacting with each other verbally, and less with Knowledge Forum
  • the sample only represented a small sample of teachers involved in the RNS network
  • school principals have been slow in developing an identity as head of remote networked schools (which will limit their ability to continue to maintain a school in many of these small, rural communities)

Again – I missed the design principles that Thérèse discussed because I was providing time prompts for her.

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