Title: Self-directed teacher inquiry in technology integration: Exploring the dynamics of synchronous and asynchronous collaborative teacher learning
Abstract: There is no one way for a teacher to learn about, implement and use technology in his or her practice. In a qualitative narrative study, three Ontario teachers were interviewed, chosen for their exemplary use of technology in their classrooms. Publicly promoted and vetted as model educators, these teachers are at different stages in their careers and have undergone different forms of professional development and training regarding educational technology. Their classroom practices and uses of technology also differ, but all are grounded in Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) (Mishra and Koehler 2006). In discussing their experiences with technology integration, interesting connections among their practices emerge. The three teachers emphasize the need for authentic modeling of technology use for students and mentorship/relationship building with other educators. They highlight the need to build and maintain professional relationships with both face-to-face and on-line peers. In particular, this paper will focus on the teachers’ use of synchronous and asynchronous collaborative learning to support their professional growth and inquiry in technology integration and other areas of instruction. Despite the tensions and differences between their individual experiences, these teachers’ perspectives shed light onto considerations and possible avenues/models for professional development – for individual teachers, whole school, and board-wide initiatives.
Acknowledgements: I would like to express my gratitude to my research supervisor, Dr. Kim MacKinnon and program director, Dr. Jim Hewitt. These two professors sparked my interest and passion in educational/instructional technology and have fully supported my multi-faceted teacher inquiry and the exploration of diverse interests, research, and projects in education. I would also like to thank my research participants for sharing their classrooms, pedagogies and philosophies in education. Most especially, thank you for continuing the dialogue and collaboration beyond the interviews. You three are my mentor and inspire me to continue to learn with and from others, and share my own learning and experiences. You three, alongside our educator and education friends in Ontario and abroad, serve as exemplary practitioners of authentic, self-directed teacher inquiry in blended environments. My research simply serves to share our stories and experiences, to stress the importance of meaningful mentorship, sharing, and continuous growth as educators, life-long learners and professionals.