Case studies of teachers participating in differentiated professional development for the purpose of student-centered technology integration.
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Montgomery, Mark S., 1973-
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School districts are quickly adopting various technologies in hopes that students can be taught in the same way their technological world works. Common reasons given to justify these expensive purchases include increasing student motivation and appealing to the "digital native." Teachers, however, tend to use technology in more of a teacher assistive role, which includes daily tasks like taking attendance or creating a worksheet. If teachers used more student-centered technology, students would have opportunities to use technology to explore for knowledge, expand their understanding of a topic based on interest, differentiate their own learning by allowing them to spend more time in areas they may not understand, and move along when the topic has been mastered. Students would also have opportunities to create and present their newly found understanding of a topic to the teacher, class, community or other interested individuals. Numerous barriers affect whether a teacher will use technology in roles that are more than just teacher assistive. These barriers differ for each teacher and, therefore, cannot necessarily be overcome by the typical professional development opportunities that currently exist in schools. Typical professional development most often model technology as teacher assistive. PowerPoint presentations or a speaker sharing an idea while an audience passively sits and listens has not been successful, or student-centered technology use would be rampant in schools. This study utilized a differentiated professional development model to try to impact student-centered technology use in classrooms of participating teachers. A differentiated model provides training based on teacher need, interest, and ability. The professional development plans were written by the teacher and trainer and then implemented together throughout the study. Utilizing a case study methodology, this study follows three teachers as they participate in the differentiated professional development model. Each case study was written to explain each teacher's progress through his or her entire experience. Each individual case was analyzed to search for themes that emerged from the data. Finally, all three cases were analyzed together to look for overall themes and findings that might have implications for professional development and/or technology integration.