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.
I wanted to share this article about the upcoming by-election with information about some of the candidates – including yours truly.
Trustee by-elections are anyone’s race. by Moira MacDonald. Toronto Sun. Jan. 10, 2012.
If you want to see what a difference no incumbent makes, take a look at the growing list of trustee by-election candidates in Don Valley East’s Ward 17 and Scarborough-Agincourt’s Ward 20.
…There’s the heavy smell of opportunism in the air for both races, but there’s the whiff of idealism too. Political neophyte Monica Batac, 24, is finishing a master’s degree in teaching this spring, but says the experience taught her education needs advocatesat the political table too. She plans a “grassroots” campaign in Scarborough- Agincourt, including how she fundraises. Next weekend she’s part of a “karma” Bikram yoga class where proceeds will go to support her trustee bid.
“I don’t have a campaign manager, I’m writing my own content,” says Batac, who has a special interest in how to use technology in education. “It’s not easy. I’m an underdog — but I have the best of intentions.”
On our first day of 2012, I would like to share an important message with you.
It is with the overwhelming support of my family and many colleagues, friends, and mentors that I will be running in the by-election for Toronto District School Board (TDSB) Trustee for Ward 20 – Scarborough-Agincourt. I am excited & encouraged for the next two months of campaigning. I hope you will come along for the ride.
Over the past few months, I have considered the range of career opportunities available after graduation. Anything and everything under the sun has been suggested- from oversea teaching gigs, employment with local boards, to tutoring. I’ve considered continuing my studies or entering the private sector. As some of you may know, I have not been 100% convinced that one opportunity was better suited for me than another.
I have spent the last two years navigating and switching between my identities as student, teacher, educator/mentor, researcher, community member, and advocate. Yes, I am a multi-purpose, multi-identity stakeholder in education. Becoming the Trustee for Ward 20 would allow me to continue this often messy, complex, yet invigorating work. This time though, it is beyond informal conversations with peers or teachers – it is with the stakeholders themselves and with some weight in decision-making.
My reflections, learning, and experiences have always brought me back to the big picture, the critical implications of our definitions, practices, and values of teaching, learning, and education. Would you agree there is dissonance in what is and what could be?
We all know we’ve got work to do. Let’s get the votes.