Participants engage in and provide feedback on a CyberPD environment that overcomes the obstacles related to bringing curriculum-based professional development to scale.
Research has shown that curriculum-based professional development for teachers is a key component in the effective implementation of innovative, researched-based science curricula. Scaling up to a broad-based national market, however, is logistically constrained and limited by the traditional face-to-face professional development model. A key factor in a districts’ decision-making process affecting the adoption of a research-based curricula is their ability to provide the necessary on-going and timely professional development. Research-based curricula reflect the latest in the learning and cognitive sciences and incorporate instructional models that often require teachers to rethink and change many of their practices. This session provides participants with the opportunity to explore a comprehensive and interactive CyberPD system, now in field test, that has been developed to overcome these obstacles and to help teachers implement the middle school, researched-based curriculum Project-Based Inquiry Science (PBIS) with fidelity.
Session activities focus on the iterative participatory design and evaluation strategies that the project has employed to develop the PBIS CyberPD environment. These strategies involve two parallel threads that (1) engage experienced PBIS teachers as advisors and (2) pilot studies with teachers and districts newly adopting PBIS. The presenters discuss their methods and results thus far, and engage session participants in hands-on guided tasks on the CyberPD site. This activity illustrates components of their approach while also providing them with additional evaluative data. Group discussion centers on sharing ideas, experiences, and approaches to effective cyberlearning professional development tools to support the scaling-up of research-based curricula.