Using virtual interactive professional development (VIPD) to support special education teacher understanding and implementation of opportunities to respond and TPACK, a single-case study.

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Professional development for teachers is a standard practice within education used to support teacher knowledge that is typically provided before the school year starts. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for high-quality professional development that can meet a variety of teacher needs. For special education teachers, this is, in particular, a critical area of need due to the specialized instruction that is legally required for their student population. Professional development needs to be provided in a flexible manner that meets best practice standards, supports their knowledge of what to teach, how to teach, and how to use technology to support their lived experiences. The research design for the study was quantitative methods, specifically single-case design (SCD). The theoretical framework was Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). TPACK looks at each of these areas of knowledge separately, within paired intersections, and when all areas of knowledge intersect for a full understanding of contextual knowledge. Opportunities to respond (OTR) is a specific pedagogical strategy that is seen within special education. OTR is a prompt or direction that a teacher provides to a student or group of students. The focus of the research was on understanding how virtual interactive professional development (VIPD) supported special education teachers with the implementation of OTR and TPACK. VIPD provided a flexible format of learning and support that met the needs of special education teachers. It provided opportunities for short, flexible, meaningful professional development that was specific to the teacher and their classroom. Elementary special education teachers were able to use a Zoom® session with the researcher, specifically looking at 1:1 or small group teaching of required subject content areas and implementing OTR and technology. Engagement in multiple short sessions through VIPD that were focused on OTR and TPACK provided insight and opportunities for both the researcher and teachers. OTR was high across all teachers through each phase, with the types of TPACK increasing across each phase for all participants. Teachers reported satisfaction with VIPD as an option for professional development.

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