Let the Games Begin

I sent this in an email to my doctoral committee today. I'm getting excited.

Executive Summary:

I’m moving forward with my dissertation and would love your input/feedback. I hope to study professional development and how it impacts teacher practice. In working further with Dr. Bentley (my Chair), I have narrowed my focus to the following research questions:

  • What are the characteristics of teacher professional development programs that encourage teacher use of technology within communities of practice?
  • What are the characteristics of teachers that utilize social software in the classroom?
  • What impact do open professional development environments have on teacher utilization of social software in the classroom?
Thanks for your help,



Additional Detail:

Therefore, a major component of this study will be several professional development classes that are offered this Fall in the Canyons School District:

Furthermore, because the treatment for this study will be to conduct professional development in an open environment, a brief understanding of that concept might be helpful. Similar in concept to open education efforts and even open source software, open professional development has the following characteristics (see my original description here – as this is a concept that is just emerging):
  • Free of charge to participants.
  • Open Enrollment - All that desire are welcome to participate.
  • Combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet.
  • Built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint.
  • Not limited to the course we've named OpenPD. Thus more of a movement - like Open Education - than a particular class.
In further researching the characteristics of open PD environments, I would also compare and contrast a number of PD efforts that fall within the realm of being open. For example:
  • OpenPD – This is a series of PD classes that I taught wherein teachers were invited to participate, regardless of their geographic location.
  • K12 Online – This is a free conference wherein teachers can participate with others, receiving a level of professional development and tailored to individual teacher needs.
  • Connectivism & Connective Knowledge – This online course has also been termed a “Massive Open Online Course,” has been used as a form of professional development by many teachers.
What are your thoughts, how well do you think these methods will answer my questions, and what suggestions do you have regarding these efforts?
What do you think? Have I got a leg to stand on?

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