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ERIC Number: ED552647
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 154
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-6746-6
Investigating the Impact of Professional Development on Teacher Practices and Beliefs Regarding the Use of Mobile Educational Applications in the Classroom
Barrett-Greenly, Tommi C.
ProQuest LLC, D.Ed. Dissertation, University of Delaware
It is well known that technology holds an important place in the classroom, and that students must be prepared for working and functioning in a society abundant with swift and constant advances in technology (Mitchem, Wells & Wells, 2003). Thus, in order to ready the learners, teachers themselves must be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge for effective technology integration, one of which is learning how to learn about emerging technologies and their applications in the school curriculum. This project investigated the impact of a professional development (PD) institute designed to help practicing teachers realize the potential of mobile devices (i.e., iPads) for both teaching and learning, and consisted of three objectives. The first objective was to describe the pedagogical activities of a technology professional development program titled "iPad Technology Institute," which was offered on campus at the University of Delaware (UD) during the summer of 2011. The second objective was to investigate the impact of the institute activities on the technological knowledge, teaching practices and beliefs of the participating teachers. The final objective was to gain an understanding of the benefits, limitations and challenges of using mobile technology, specifically the iPad and its applications, in the classroom (from the teachers' perspective). The program involved the training of 14 participating teachers in the fundamentals of using an iPad, in preparation for successfully utilizing the mobile device for instructional purposes in their individual classroom settings. The institute was organized into five clusters corresponding to five days of direct instruction and hands-on practice, followed by an opportunity to apply learning into practice through the design of lesson plans that integrated iPads with curriculum content. The program was supported by a federal grant administered by the State Department of Education and included resources for teacher stipends, an iPad for each teacher, and a set of 30 iPads for each teacher's school. Data were collected qualitatively via surveys for all participants, as well as from observations and interviews with four case study participants, and were analyzed using a constant comparative method to identify common themes (Miles & Huberman, 1994). These data were used to identify specific practices influenced by participation in the PD institute and utilization of mobile technology in the classroom for teaching and learning. Findings from the data indicated that participation in the professional development institute increased the teachers' comfort and skills in using iPads and mobile educational applications for instructional purposes. In particular, results from case study data suggested that many benefits were recognized during utilization of the iPad applications within classroom environments. All teachers agreed that utilizing the applications increased student engagement; some teachers also noted improvement in student test scores. Other benefits mentioned by teachers included the accessibility and variety of child-friendly apps, opportunities to learn and use a variety of skills within applications, and the potential to hone a multitude of learning skills, from reading comprehension, fluency and confidence, to an ability to address technology issues. With benefits came limitations and challenges when using applications during teaching and learning. Although most of the participants expressed a belief that a variety of applications were available, they still expressed a wish to have more knowledge of and access to quality, educational applications. Participants also expressed a desire to have observed iPad lessons, ideas, and applications that have been tested out by educators. Student distractibility was another concern shared by all teachers, as well as the desire to have the authority to lock the iPads for better control and management of device usage. Cost of applications, troubleshooting technical issues, and want for more time (for lesson planning to device problem solving) were other challenges for the participants. Recommendations were made for future instructors and designers of technology focused professional development programs for teachers, as well as other educational institutions, specifically those considering the implementation of mobile devices for educational purposes: (a) provide demonstrations from K-12 teachers experienced in the technology; (b) provide classroom management tips to accommodate the needs of integrating iPad technology into instructional practices; (c) provide suggestions and model scenarios for addressing technical problems; (d) integrate more iPad-focused lessons, lesson ideas, and applications that have been tested out by educators; (d) allow opportunities for participant collaboration and networking; and (e) provide follow-up support by qualified personnel. The results serve as a resource for consideration during future designs of technology-focused, professional development programs for educators, and also as a resource for descriptions of teaching practices in regards to iPad implementation in education. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware