A case study of the use of professional development to support mobile technology integration
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Mobile devices are playing an increasingly prevalent role in K-12 education, as school systems are adopting the technology to enhance student learning. Consequently, teachers have to learn how to incorporate the devices into their classrooms, with the help of professional development activities. This case study examined the professional development of four teachers who participated in their school district’s iPod touch initiative for English Language Learners (ELLs), as well as the perspective of the instructional media specialist charged with assisting the teachers. The study aimed to understand what district-led and independent training activities K-12 teachers engage in and the influence the activities have on how mobile devices are used by the teachers. The educational activities of the teachers and their impact on the teachers’ technology integration were documented through a series of interviews, a training observation, and teacher questionnaires. The research identified four types of professional development support provided by the district and five types of self-guided or incidental learning activities that teachers engaged in that directly impacted the way they used the device. The district-led trainings are 1) group trainings 2) in-class demonstrations 3) one-on-one training and 4) ongoing support. The self-guided and incidental learning activities found are 1) research for resources and ideas 2) brainstorming 3) experimenting with apps and activities 4) collaboration with others and 5) students serving as trainers. Increased personal instruction, cultivating formal learning through mentoring and an online forum, and developing online training resources for a mobile format are proposed for professional development that would aid in the integration of mobile devices in a K-12 environment.