Chandra Orrill (UMass Dartmouth) with Yasemin Copur-Gencturk (University of Southern California, Project PI), Benjamin Nye (University of Southern California), and Allan Cohen (University of Georgia)
Current Research Assistants: Marty Epstein, Akira Harper, and Hamza Malik
Project Manager: Kym Welty
Past Research Assistants: Senai Sahle
Institute of Education Sciences
The purpose of this program is to increase middle school teachers’ content and pedagogical content knowledge of proportional reasoning and, in turn, improve their students’ understanding of proportional reasoning by developing an interactive, personalized computer-based professional development (PD) program for teachers. This intervention will surpass past attempts to provide PD to improve student learning by building on an in-depth review of professional learning opportunities known to be effective in improving teacher knowledge and student learning and by creating an interactive, personalized, computer-based professional development program that can be accessed by any teacher.
The goal of this four-year project is to develop and test an interactive, personalized computer-based professional development program for middle school teachers. The system will be usable for teachers, feasible for use in various settings including the home, and easily accessible for all end users. The purpose of the program is to increase middle school teachers’ content and pedagogical content knowledge of proportional reasoningand, in turn, improve their students’ understanding of proportional reasoning. This proposal responds to the needs facing middle school students and their teachers in multiple ways and has the potential to contribute to an improvement in student mathematics outcomes by enhancing teachers’ knowledge associated with the core tasks of mathematics teaching and student mathematics achievement. Importantly, the project will contribute important findings to professional development research regarding the effectiveness of a computer-based program that provides interactive, virtual facilitation.
What is the impact of the professional development modules on teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge?
Why Do We Do This Work?
Students continue to struggle to learn how to reason about proportional situations, yet this mathematical content is the foundation for many important ideas that come after it. So, learning proportions is key to mathematical success. We want to create a learning environment that all teachers can access. Thus, it will be offered online at the teacher’s convenience. We will include a virtual facilitator to support teachers and to help maintain motivation. And, we will include diagnostic assessment tools so teachers do not have to take portions of the professional development they have already mastered. In this way, we are trying to create a new kind of a responsive professional development to support teachers’ learning anytime and anywhere.
We have partnered with school districts and professional development organizations throughout the United States for this project. Teachers and professional developers from around the country will have input on various stages of the development of these professional development materials.