The project will develop and research an innovative model for rural science teacher professional development via technology-mediated lesson study (TMLS). This approach supports translating professional learning into classroom practice by developing a technology-based, social support system among rural teachers.
Developing the Pedagogical Skills and Science Expertise of Teachers in Underserved Rural Settings
Rural science teachers are often isolated and have few opportunities for meaningful collaboration with fellow teachers, an important source of professional learning. The project will develop and research an innovative model for rural science teacher professional development via technology-mediated lesson study (TMLS). This approach supports translating professional learning into classroom practice by developing a technology-based, social support system among rural teachers. The project will host summer workshops for high school biology and chemistry teachers from four rural Utah regions to learn about 3D science teaching. (3D science teaching incorporates core ideas science disciplines, science research practices, and concepts cutting across disciplines to help students meet performance expectations by engaging with authentic science phenomena.) In the workshops, participants will collaborate with the project team and teachers of the same subject from the same region of the state to co-design 3D science lessons that align with state and national education standards. Building on relationships developed during the workshops, the regional teacher teams will engage in a novel form of professional learning: technology-mediated lesson study. (Lesson study is an instructional inquiry model where teachers work face-to-face in small collaborative groups to craft, deliver, observe, and refine teaching practice.) This project will develop capacity for science teaching for 88 rural science teachers in four regions of the state, who will reach approximately 10,000 rural Utah students each year. Many of the students are members of the sovereign Ute, Paiute, Goshute, Navajo (Diné), and Shoshone Nations. The science lesson plans participants design will be made available to all Utah teachers, and shared with a national audience through a website that shares peer-reviewed science lesson plans. Project research and resources will be further disseminated through conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed and practitioner journals.
The project will research how TMLS supports teachers in the process of translating professional learning into practice and investigate the impact of changing teachers’ social support network to include teachers of the same subject from other rural schools. The project will study the effects of co-design activities and TMLS cycles on teachers’ changing capacity, practice, and social support system using mixed-methods research. Changes in capacity and practice will be examined qualitatively through interviews, video observations of classroom teaching, and TMLS meetings. The effects of TMLS on teachers’ social support system will be analyzed quantitatively using social network analysis to identify individuals who act as information hubs for 3D science teaching. These teachers will be interviewed to better understand their social interactions. Using design-based implementation research, the project will iteratively improve the professional learning experience collaboratively with the science teacher leaders who participate in the project.