Please post this for your colleagues:



Middle School Mathematics Teachers

Research on Online Approaches to Professional Development



EDC (Education Development Center) and the Boston College Technology and
Assessment Study Collaborative are collaborating on a research project,
funded by the National Science Foundation, that is investigating the
effectiveness of alternative approaches to online professional
development.  The research will explore the impact of these approaches
on teachers’ content knowledge and instructional practices and will be
led by Dr. Glenn Kleiman of EDC and Dr. Mike Russell of Boston College. 


We are looking for 150 middle school (grades 7-8) mathematics teachers
who are interested in participating in a professional development
offering as part of this research project.  As part of the project you
will be enrolled in a 10-week, online course that will provide
innovative algebra classroom activities for your students.  The course
will focus on cultivating algebraic thinking in your class through
number activities and the study of patterns and functions.  The course
will also introduce web-based technology that is available at no cost
that you can use in your classroom to help promote algebraic thinking.
In return for your participation in the research activities, you will
receive a $200 stipend.  You can also choose to obtain graduate course
credit from Antioch University Seattle for a reduced tuition fee of $300
(to which you can apply the $200 stipend).  


About the Research Project:  

The research will compare three types of professional development
approaches.  Each type will cover the same content and will require the
same time commitment.   The three types of professional development will


•         Individualized self-paced: In this model, teachers do the
course work on their own schedule and interact through email with a
highly qualified instructor

•         Learning-community:  This model follows a more structured
schedule, is facilitated by a highly qualified instructor, and the
cohort of teachers taking the course interact with one another and the
instructor through an asynchronous online forum. 

•         Hybrid learning-community: This model is exactly like the
Learning-community model above, except that there will be a face-to-face
component built into the course.  This will involve 3 sessions held in
your region, each for 2 ½ to 3 hours at a time that is most convenient
for the group. 


What it Means to Participate:

Participants must be teachers of grade 7 or 8 mathematics.  Participants
must also agree to participate in whichever one of the three
professional development approaches they are assigned within the
research study.  Each of the three courses will run over a period of 10
weeks, with an expectation that participants will spend 4 hours per week
on online and off-line activities related to the course.  The coursework
can be done on your schedule and either at home or school over the
Internet.  In addition to completing the professional development
coursework, participating teachers must be willing to: 

•         complete 2 formal surveys that will require approximately 4
hours over the course of the year,

•         be available for occasional informal communication over the
course of the year,

•         hand out and return to research team a brief (15 minute)
student survey, 

•         be willing to be selected for field observation and/or
interviews, and

•         if assigned to the hybrid learning-community group, be willing
to attend the face-to-face sessions.  



The first survey to collect baseline data will be conducted in December
of 2003.  The professional development workshops will be begin on
February 16 and end on April 16, 2004.  Baseline data on teachers and
schools will be collected from November 2003 through January 2004.
Follow-up observations and interviews will be collected April through
June 2004 and possibly September through November, 2004.  

Next Steps:

If you would like to participate in this professional development
opportunity or would like more information, contact Rebby Carey by
November 14, 2003.  You can call her at 617-618-2892 or email at
[log in to unmask]