There is a need for quality professional development programs and instructional models addressing the needs and challenges of K–12 technology integration in the geography classroom. This study used a mixed-methods design employing surveys and observations to evaluate teacher experiences within a professional development program focused on developing in-service geography teachers’ technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK) through content-specific learning tools and resources. Results indicate that instructional scaffolding plays an important role in improving teachers’ ability to integrate technology in pedagogically meaningful ways geared toward enhancing students’ geographic inquiry skills.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
GeoThentic was designed and developed by the Learning Technologies Media Lab at the University of Minnesota with support from a grant from the National Geographic Society to strengthen the teaching and learning of geography through geospatial technologies. It should be noted that although two of the authors of this study were involved in all phases of the design, development, and dissemination of the GeoThentic learning environment, engagement with the learning environment comprises only one component of the professional development experiences offered by this institute. The findings of this study are not a result of the GeoThentic learning environment itself, but of the teachers’ experiences within the professional development program as a whole. Since two of the authors were involved in the design and development of GeoThentic and two of the authors served as part of the evaluation team for the professional development program, appropriate measures such as inter-rater reliability and frequency counts were applied during data analysis. These measures are explained in the Methods section of this article.
Funds for this project were provided by a grant from the federal Improving Teacher Quality Program of the No Child Left Behind Act administered by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
- instructional design
- professional development
- teacher education
- technology-enhanced learning (TEL)