NEWTON, MA | August 24, 2010
Teachers who took professional development courses online improved their teaching practices and subject knowledge, and produced learning gains for their students. This according to a new study released by e-Learning for Educators, a 10-state consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Ready to Teach program and led by Alabama Public Television. The study, which included 330 teachers and 7,000 students, is the largest set of independent randomized trials conducted on an online professional development program to date.
Conducted by Boston College, the research study included elementary and middle school math and English language arts teachers who participated in three 30-hour online workshops created for their grade level and content area. The workshops—developed by Education Development Center’s EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO)—were aligned to national and state standards, and focused on content and pedagogy in the particular subject and grade. Teachers shared ideas, reflections, and practices during the workshops, which included custom video, new research, and technology tools. ETLO also trained the online facilitators who delivered the courses.
“While a growing body of research demonstrates online learning’s effectiveness at the college level, very few studies focus on K–12 and track the impact of teacher professional development to student learning,” said EDC’s Barbara Treacy, director of ETLO. “It’s extremely gratifying to see that the online model we’ve developed leads to such positive results across all states, grade levels, and teacher groups.”
E-Learning for Educators builds statewide online professional development programs for teachers based on partnerships between the public television station and the department of education in each state. The consortium includes Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and is focused on teachers in high-need areas.
“Online courses allow busy teachers to access learning, resources, and colleagues not available locally and at a time that fits with their busy schedules,” said Lynne Meeks, e-Learning for Educators project director at Alabama Public Television. “This is particularly important for rural teachers, who make up a large percentage of teachers in the participating states. E-Learning for Educators provides a wonderful opportunity for public television to support departments of education in providing effective, accessible professional development for teachers.”
To download the study, go to: http://go.edc.org/kqku.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC),is a global nonprofit organization that develops, delivers, and evaluates innovative programs to solve some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health, and economic development. Visit www.edc.org. Based at EDC, EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) works with state departments of education, school districts, colleges and universities, and other educational organizations to enable them to build successful online learning programs for teachers, administrators and students. Over the past 10 years, ETLO has provided online instructor and course developer training, a catalog of online courses in a range of K–12 subject areas and grade levels, online course development, and consulting services for educational organizations in more than 35 states. Visit: http://edtechleaders.org.
Alabama Public Television is the nation’s first state educational television network and is headquartered in Birmingham, with nine stations across the state. APT is deeply committed to and a leader in providing professional development for educators, advocating for the changing role of public television in curriculum planning and revision efforts to that of a dynamic educational resource instead of a content provider. Visit: http://www.aptv.org/APTPLUS/ELearning/index.asp.
Boston College’s Technology and Assessment Study Collaborative (inTASC) is a not-for-profit research group that works collaboratively with schools, educational institutions, and businesses on research and development related to technology and assessment. Visit: http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/.