PREPARING SCIENCE TEACHERS TO TEACH WITH TECHNOLOGY: EXPLORING A K-16 NETWORKED LEARNING COMMUNITY APPROACH
This exploratory study examines the impact of a professional development program where a K-16 networked learning community approach was implemented to provide training and support for technology integration in science education. The study presents findings from a three-year project with five cohort groups that included 17 student teachers, 17 cooperating teachers, 5 university-level faculty, and 3 student teaching supervisors. Data were collected from pre and post surveys, journal entries, participant observations, and electronic portfolios. Findings indicate that over the course of the program the project participants significantly increased their confidence and competence to integrate technology into the teaching and learning process. Technology-integrated lessons developed by the project participants included the use of a variety of advanced technology tools to facilitate learning in science. Using collaborative partnerships helped many teachers to use technology with their students and increased their motivation and enthusiasm towards technology based training. The study demonstrates that an approach to professional development that encourages networking, mutual learning, and sharing of strategies and resources among science educators is an effective strategy to improve technology integration in science education.