ePortfolio: Action Research Team Professional Development Plan

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The director of technology integration at the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) has assigned Aries Cobb, the lead professional development (PD) facilitator for technology integration, to use the problem-based learning model to continue the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) project. Cobb, a grant writer, staff developer, and principal investigator of EETT, has created a new learning experience entitled ePortfolio: Action Research Team Professional Development Plan for the 2008-2009 school year for 25 teaching professionals at a targeted school in the CMSD. The targeted school has not met Academic Yearly Progress (AYP) for 3 or more years. The problem-based learning model is used for each school that has a technology integration program that is not working effectively in an effort to address the problem by examining teacher pedagogical beliefs and classroom technology use to enhance student technological literacy and reading achievement. A description and a PD design are outlined with a literature review for PD suggestions for the future.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

In the past, the EETT program was used to assist teachers and students to achieve higher scores on the Ohio Achievement Test in reading. Both students and teachers in the 2006-2007 report on EETT in selected schools in the district (CMSD Office of Research and Assessment, 2007) showed "statistically significant gains in technological skills that are complemented by integration of technology into practice. All student groups showed gains in technological literacy from winter to spring of the 2006-2007 academic year" (p. 4).

However, students in kindergarten through Grade 2 showed the greatest gains in technological literacy and reading achievement. Students in Grades 3-8 showed little significant gain in technological literacy and reading achievement. Teachers in Grades 3-8 failed to report a comfort level in integrating technology in the classroom. The CMSD Office of Research and Assessment (2007) found a correlation between teacher technology integration practice and teacher beliefs about exemplary technology usage.

A FRAMEWORK FOR DESIGNING PD

The National Staff Development Council (NSDC, 2003) staff development standards are grounded in research that documents the connection between staff development and student learning. The standards are organized into context standards, process standards, and content standards. The goals for the ePortfolio: Action Research Team Professional Development Plan is described in three stages of implementation of each descriptor (see Table 1).

LEARNING EXPERIENCE DESIGN

The NSDC (2004) stated, "Staff development that improves the learning of all students organizes adults into teaching communities whose goals are aligned with those of the school and district" (p. 13). According to Fogarty and Pete (2007), "Whatever the focus, action research is a proudly rewarding experience for teachers because of its immediacy to their needs. There is a host of ways to organize teachers into focus groups" (p. 152). Five types of action research teams are used in the CMSD: action research team; committees; Critical Friends Group; curriculum committee; and department, team, and grade-level meetings. Action research teams use data to attain results, increase student achievement, and enhance teaching practices by changing teacher belief s aboutbest practice.

The action research team at each targeted school is inquiry based. The teachers and the students explore how to achieve based on their own inquiries. The action research team conducts research focused on the needs of the students and staff. The team is a small group of staff in the school building. The leadership is defined in the group. In other words, each team member has a defined role in the action research. The research is based on the achievement of the students. The group outlines learning goals for the students and the teaching staff. …