A Humbling Challenge—Professional Development that Really “Sticks”

Professional development frequently doesn’t achieve major increases in effective STEM teaching. Can innovative, technology-based models for professional development help us achieve sustainable, substantial changes in practice?

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 9:45am to 11:45am
PI-organized Discussion

This collaborative session begins with a dilemma—the realization that professional development often falls short of expectations for improving teacher practice and classroom learning. The presenters realize that teaching is a culturally bound endeavor, and changing classroom culture is extremely complex. Their NSF projects are founded on theories of action grounded in research, that is, theories of what is required for professional development programs to change teacher awareness, motivation, understanding, and actual classroom action in STEM. Historically, those theories of action have often fallen short of the presenters’ ambitions. Now, advances in technology may provide new potential for meeting professional development challenges. Do these affordances, when blended with established research-based models, create novel opportunities for increasing the effectiveness of professional development?

Participants planning to attend this session are encouraged to think in advance about the following questions: (1) What works? (2) How can technology help? (3) What new questions are raised? (4) What next steps can we take for increasing professional development effectiveness? The presenters each have projects informing the issue and share experiences so that discussion is facilitated by explicit examples. The session may result in a DR K–12 professional development working group that continues to share ideas, challenges, and strategies.