Teachers' Perceptions of Effective Science, Technology, and Mathematics Professional Development and Changes in Classroom Practices



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The purpose of this study is to examine teachers? perceptions of professional development and changes in classroom practice. A proposed conceptual framework for effective professional development that results in changes in classroom practices was developed. Data from two programs that provided professional development to teachers in the areas of technology, mathematics, and science was used to inform the conceptual framework. These two programs were Target Technology in Texas (T3) and Mathematics, Science, and Technology Teacher Preparation Academies (MSTTPA). This dissertation used a multiple article format to explore each program separately, yet the proposed conceptual framework allowed for comparisons to be made between the two programs.

he first study investigated teachers? perceptions of technology-related professional development after their districts had received a T3 grant. An online survey was administrated to all teachers to determine their perceptions of technology-related professional development along with technology self-efficacy. Classroom observations were conducted to determine if teachers were implementing technology. The results indicated that teachers did not perceive professional development as being effective and were not implementing technology in their classrooms. Teachers did have high technology self-efficacy and perceived adequate school support, which implies that effective professional development may be a large factor in whether or not teachers implement technology in their classrooms.

The second study evaluated participants? perceptions of the effectiveness of mathematics and science professional development offered through a MSTTP academy. Current and former participants completed an online survey which measured their perceptions of academy activities and school environment. Participants also self-reported classroom implementation of technology. Interviews and open-ended survey questions were used to provide further insight into academy activities. The results indicated that academy participants perceived effective academy activities along with a supportive school environment. Additionally, participants reported sometimes implementing technology in their classrooms. These findings suggest that several factors might influence the successful classroom implementation of professional development.

The data which supports the conceptual framework shows that effective professional development may play a key role in successful classroom implementation. Future professional development activities should be designed around characteristics for effective professional development to increase the likelihood that classroom implementation might occur.