Can we transform the e-teacher community to be a learning organization to promote school teachers' professional development

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E-teac her community competition" (abbreviated as ETCC) had been held by the Educational Bureau of Hualien County (abbreviated as EBHC) consecutively for three years since 2008. EBHC, located in the eastern part of Taiwan, plays important roles in promoting school teachers' professional development. ETCC ran for 13 weeks from February to May. EBHC invited five experts to set up and revise rules, regulations, and grading criteria to guide the e-teacher teams to design, develop and implement a theme-based course. Each e-teacher team saved and presented the processes and their final products over a unique web-site assigned. The e-teacher team kept all final products in a website that can be accessed by all school teachers in Hualien. In 2010, EBHC held a post­ ETCC workshop and invited the winning teams of ETCC to share their experiences and made suggestions for future improvement. This paper analyzed how the EBHC helped to initiate the e-teacher community to be a primitive learning organization. We suggested some strategies to see if the e­ teacher community can be further transformed to be an authentic learning organization.

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This study uses a national probability sample of 1,027 mathematics and science teachers to provide the first large-scale empirical comparison of effects of different characteristics of professional development on teachers’ learning. Results, based on ordinary least squares regression, indicate three core features of professional development activities that have significant, positive effects on teachers’ self-reported increases in knowledge and skills and changes in classroom practice: (a) focus on content knowledge; (b) opportunities for active learning; and (c) coherence with other learning activities. It is primarily through these core features that the following structural features significantly affect teacher learning: (a) the form of the activity (e.g., workshop vs. study group); (b) collective participation of teachers from the same school, grade, or subject; and (c) the duration of the activity.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the levels of use of elementary school teachers’ information technology integration into instruction, and to compare the differences of demographic variables on the levels of use. This study adopted the questionnaire survey method. The subjects were public elementary school teachers in Taiwan selected by stratified random sampling. A “levels of use of information technology into instruction” questionnaire was used in this study. Questionnaires were sent to the subjects in October, 2006. In all, there were 1,519 valid subjects. The data were then analyzed and the results indicated that elementary school teachers’ current state of information technology into instruction was at the level of “integration-mechanical”. Moreover, differences existed in terms of schools’ attributes, such as location and size, as well as teachers’ attributes, such as gender, marital status, educational background, hours of training, and hours of technology use per week. Based on the major findings, this study provided relevant suggestions to educational administration and to school authorities so as to promote the diffusion of information technology into instruction.
The Educational Bureau of Hualien County (abbreviated as EBHC) in the eastern part of Taiwan plays important roles in promoting school teachers' professional development by holding an “e-teacher community competition” (abbreviated as ETCC) since February 2008. The participants not only designed and implemented a theme-based course, but also presented the processes and their final products over a unique web-site assigned to each e-teacher team. All final products of the participating e-teacher teams can be accessed from the EBHC platform (!) that served as scaffolding for other school teachers in the local county as references of course design and collaborative teaching. The educational administration of EBHC played important roles in setting up rules and regulations of ETCC, inviting university professors to serve as curriculum and information technology (abbreviated as IT) expert consultants to revise the rules and to evaluate the performance of the participating teams after they finished the final products. EBHC also provided attractive and useful rewards for the winning teams. The outcomes showed that the participating teachers had better communication among the team members, and they cooperatively accomplished an on-line theme-based course and implemented in the classroom and outdoors teaching. Teachers' professional development included the growth in the content knowledge, capabilities of course-design, IT application and collaborative teaching. The ETCC may serve as a new teacher training model for the educational administration agencies.
This report provides state policymakers with a review of current issues and challenges in the professional development of teachers. The changing role of states in professional development is examined, and it is argued that while state involvement in professional development programs has increased, inadequate attention is being paid to the quality and content of these programs. Systemic reform is then discussed, including movements to place more responsibility for curriculum, assessment, outreach, and collaboration on teachers. The purposes of professional development are explored, including the balance between teachers' desires to pursue their own professional interests and the priorities of individual schools and school systems. Current systems of professional development are seen as disconnected from classroom practice and lacking in intensity and followup. Cost benefit issues are also addressed. A set of principles and standards for professional development is presented in order to stimulate dialogue in state and district school systems. A variety of challenges in professional development are then discussed, including questions of who sets priorities, how public support for increased investment can be secured, and how to convince both teachers and parents that time must be spent outside the classroom to improve teacher competencies. Major state policy instruments are discussed, and a framework is provided for conducting reviews of state policies in this field. Promising alternative models of professional development are examined, and specific suggestions are provided for state leaders interested in improving the quality and effectiveness of teachers in their states. (Contains 70 references.) (PB)
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