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Volume 21  Issue 1  

Perceptions of Administrators’ Support for Grades K-5 Teachers’ Professional Learning with Twitter: What Does It Look Like?

by Talia Nochumson
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This mixed-methods study investigated support for Grades K-5 teachers’ learning with Twitter. As more teachers turn to the Twitter microblogging service as an online space for professional development (PD), it is important to understand how and if teachers believe school administrators’ support their use of Twitter for teacher PD. Key findings from this study revealed that two thirds of participants considered their administrators to be supportive of Twitter for their PD. Support was perceived when administrators, including superintendents and principals, were (a) active Twitter users and (b) encouraged teachers to share what they had learned on Twitter. However, some participants expressed feeling discouraged by administrators who seemed mostly interested in maintaining the status quo in their schools. Support from administrators may help teachers critically evaluate information they learn from Twitter and ensure its alignment with evidence-based teaching practices, skills that are necessary in an era with an abundance of easily accessed information. In consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic, school leaders and policymakers may want to consider their support for teachers’ use of Twitter as a legitimate resource for professional learning, especially for ideas related to remote teaching and online learning.

Volume 20  Issue 2  

Video Reflection Cycles: Providing the Tools Needed to Support Teacher Candidates Toward Understanding, Appreciating, and Enacting Critical Reflection

by Jackie Sydnor, Sharon Daley & Tammi Davis
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This qualitative research study examined how teacher candidates’ (TCs) participation in reflection cycles involving recording and viewing video of their teaching practice served to support their development as reflective practitioners. The reflection cycle included viewing and annotating one’s own teaching, receiving peer and instructor dialogic feedback, and synthesizing the feedback to identify strengths, evidence of student (dis)engagement and learning as well as areas for continued professional growth. Analysis of the TCs’ written reflections at the end of each reflection cycle underscored Larrivee’s (2008) assertion that reflection is a complex and interweaving developmental process that is not necessarily linear. The findings highlight the role of teacher educators in supporting TCs to become more critically reflective.

Volume 20  Issue 1  

Microcredentialing of English Learner Teaching Skills: An Exploratory Study of Digital Badges as an Assessment Tool

by Kerry Purmensky, Ying Xiong, Joyce Nutta, Florin Mihai & Leslie Mendez
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Digital badges are a promising innovative tool to support teacher candidates’ instructional skill development. Although digital badges are increasingly utilized in online teaching and learning, their effectiveness is still under investigation. This exploratory study reports on 151 elementary level teacher candidates’ participation and success rate in a digital badge system named MELTS, which was specifically designed for cultivating, assessing, and recognizing 10 specific English learner teaching skills. To earn a digital badge, participants in the study were required to (a) pass online module assessments, (b) participate in coached skill practices, and (c) effectively demonstrate mastery of targeted teaching skills before an expert panel. Findings show that participants who completed the online modules and skills practices were successful in demonstrating the targeted teaching skills to receive MELTS badges. Although participants reported a positive experience in the skill practice sessions, the participation rate in the badging sessions was lower than expected. Implications and challenges are discussed.

Volume 19  Issue 4  

A Professional Development Process Model for Online and Blended Learning: Introducing Digital Capital

by Brent Philipsen
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Since information and communication technologies were introduced into education, the number of courses delivered in an online or blended learning (OBL) format has increased significantly. However, not all teachers are experienced in teaching in this new digital environment. While various teacher professional development (TPD) models exist, few target OBL and teachers’ change processes during professional development. Therefore, this article presents a five-phase TPD process model for OBL. The five phases of the model are (a) a need for TPD for OBL, (b) the professional development strategy, (c) the teacher change associated with OBL, (d) the recognition and appreciation of these changes, and (e) the anchoring of the changes made in the teachers’ everyday practice. The model presented can offer a valuable and new approach toward TPD for OBL and introduces the notion of digital capital into TPD for OBL.