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Teachers and ICT: exploring a metacognitive approach to professional development

Renata Phelps
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Professional development for teachers in information and communication technology (ICT) is currently a major priority for school systems in Australia and internationally. The metacognitive and reflective approach to professional development described in this paper is a response to the limitations of directive approaches to ICT learning within a context of rapid technological change. It proposes a capability based approach which strives to develop lifelong computer learning strategies. An important characteristic of the metacognitive approach is that, rather than specific objectives or outcomes being 'imposed' on learners, participants are encouraged to identify, articulate and pursue personally relevant goals, including those related to skills, attitudes, confidence, values and understandings, integration and school leadership. This paper reports on a research project which investigated the applicability of such an approach to teacher professional development. The approach was found to have significant outcomes in terms of computer skill development, and in influencing teachers' approaches to their own and their students' learning.

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    ABSTRACT: As new technologies offer an ever-increasing range of possibilities for supporting student learning, teachers struggle to keep abreast of the changes. This is especially the case for teachers in smaller rural schools who are isolated professionally from their colleagues. A group of teachers from four such schools in northern New South Wales combined to support each other in learning about animation and incorporating these new-found skills into their teaching. Associated research investigated changing teacher attitudes to ICT in learning as the teachers engaged in the professional learning. Questionnaire responses before and after the professional learning and journal entries made during the learning were analysed. This paper reports the results from the analysis. Questionnaire analysis indicated some changes in teacher attitudes about student use of ICT. Teachers believed more strongly after the experience that students should use ICT to support learning. Journal entries were used for detailed investigation of the nature of these attitudes to student use of ICT. Observations by teachers on the experience focused on what they had observed about their students' learning.
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    ABSTRACT: A research project to assess the efficacy of in-school professional learning to support use of on-line learning objects is being conducted in remote schools in Tasmania. This paper reports on the implementation of the project and provides information about how individual school contexts have influenced delivery of the professional learning. Challenges have included recruitment of schools and scheduling of professional learning, logistics of coordinating multiple sessions in remote areas, and technical issues. It is clear that in projects of this type the need to address both technical and pedagogical innovation, whilst meeting the needs of schools and individual teachers is of paramount importance. The integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning in school classrooms has received significant attention by both researchers (This attention has highlighted the potential for ICT to be integrated into teaching and learning to improve student outcomes. As a consequence, there is an expectation that teachers will incorporate ICT into teaching and professional practice (Fitzallen, 2004). Nevertheless, there have been a number of factors identified as barriers to integration of ICT. These barriers include: lack of teacher training; lack of curriculum, technical and administrative support; limited time for planning; computer access issues; budgetary constraints, and a general resistance to change (Roblyer, 2004). Without adequate infrastructure and technical support, meaningful ICT learning experiences by students might not happen at all. Similarly, learning and development which provides training and professional development for teachers in ICT use needs to be effective. Teachers need to gain the competencies, confidence and knowledge base required to plan, implement and assess productive student use of ICT for learning.
    Education, Innovation and Research and Strategies for Capacity Building. Annual Australian Association for Research in Education Conference, Fremantle, Western Australia; 11/2007

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May 21, 2014