“Why do we use technology?” asked Deb Morrison during her presentation about how technology can support ambitious teacher learning at this year’s 2016 Association of Science Teacher Education (ASTE) Conference.
“Why do we have these hybrid learning spaces? What do they offer us that traditional methods of teacher education don’t?”
This was the big question proposed by Deb during her presentation to science educators who joined her from around the country.
In walking the audience through the various answers to this question, Deb drew on what she’s learned in her work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington, where they used Edthena to support teacher learning.
While Deb draws on a research background, she also knows from first-hand experience that teachers value using video. As part of her research, Deb works with science teachers in the Seattle area to improve equitable instructional practices.
“In some of the feedback we got last year, those teachers, who are full-time teachers and not teachers in training, are just gushing about how this is such a rich, transformative experience for them… It’s exactly what they want to get better as a teacher.”
Adam Geller, a former science teacher and founder of Edthena, joined Deb for the presentation.
“Going into our work together, here’s what we knew to be true,” said Adam. “One, teachers get better when they watch themselves on video. Two, teachers get better when they watch other teachers on video. And three, teachers get better in what we’d call an academic context in networked communities, through social interactions, online. What we’re trying to do with Edthena is bring all three of these things together in a way that has not been done before.”
In her time using Edthena, one finding that stuck with Deb was the extent to which video technology empowers teachers with enhanced opportunities for reflection.
“By using technology in a really purposeful way…we’re making reflection a longer, more important process for teachers,” Deb said. “The more that you reflect interactively, back and forth, instead of that one moment, the deeper your learning is going to be.”
ASTE is a non-profit professional organization composed of over 800 members from countries around the globe. Their annual conference is held each January and is dedicated to continuing the professional growth and development of individuals who work in or have a strong interest in issues related to science teacher education.