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Investigating Technology-Enhanced Teacher Professional Development in Rural, High-poverty Middle Schools

Abstract

"This 3-year, mixed-methods study investigated the effects of teacher technology-enhanced professional development (TPD) on 20 teachers' beliefs and practices. Teachers in two middle schools located in neighboring rural, high-poverty districts in the southeastern United States participated in reform-based lessons and learned how to integrate technologies into their teaching over three summers and throughout the school year. Mathematics and science assessment scores for 2,321 students both with and without TPD teachers were analyzed over the 3 years of teacher TPD. Teachers' reform-based teaching beliefs and their comfort using new technologies increased significantly, and all of the teachers integrated the use of technologies into their instruction. Although some TPD teachers used technology in ways that transformed their roles and classroom practices, the majority of the teachers adopted technology in ways that improved efficiency and effectiveness. African American students who had more TPD teachers over more years experienced significant gains on end-of-grade mathematics and science tests. Findings suggest that if teachers integrate technology into their instruction, large-scale changes in teachers' practices are not necessary to enhance students' learning, particularly for African American students."

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