Advancing Online and Blended Professional Development Through NSF's DRK-12 Program

The STEM education landscape continuously shifts in response to factors such as changing workforce demands; new knowledge about how children and adults learn; better strategies for broadening participation in under-served and underrepresented populations; and changes in local, state, and national policy. Empowering teachers with new knowledge and approaches to navigate this changing landscape requires ongoing, high-quality opportunities for professional growth. Decades of research on teacher professional development (PD) in traditional, face-to-face settings have identified features that are associated with positive impacts on instruction and student outcomes (Darling-Hammond et al., 2017). At the same time, increasingly ubiquitous and rapidly evolving technologies are making wider variety of PD offerings available to a greater number of teachers by reducing or eliminating geographic and temporal barriers to engagement. They are also changing the nature of the PD itself, as innovative technologies show potential to support and measure teacher learning in new ways. However, very little is known about which features of online and blended PD are effective for a particular audience, in a particular context, and for achieving specific learning goals.

At the 2018 AERA Annual Meeting, DRK-12 awardees participated in the structured poster session "Advancing Online and Blended Professional Development Through NSF's DRK-12 Program." Chaired by CADRE Co-PI Amy Busey, with Dr. Barry Fishman as the disscussant, this session shed light on the DR K-12 portfolio of transformative research in online and blended teacher professional development. This spotlight showcases the work presented during the session.