|Ph.D Student||Shamir Inbal Tamar|
|Subject||Supporting Teachers in Applying Socio-Constructivist|
Online Instruction: A Systemic Intervention Model
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Yael Kali|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Online technology can significantly add value to the implementation of socio-constructivist pedagogical approaches. However, teachers tend to use technology for the implementation of traditional pedagogies, rather applying a learner-centered model. The goal of the current research was to design, implement and evaluate a three-year socio-constructivist teacher professional-development (TPD) model, which will support schools in assimilating online technologies into their school culture, and which builds on existing school resources.
A three-dimensional model was designed including: (a) a locality dimension, which refers to coordinating activities between the individual teacher, the school, and the district; (b) the type of support dimension, referring to pedagogical, technological and organizational issues; (c) the cognitive apprenticeship stage dimension - including modeling, coaching and fading away stages. The research applied a mixed methods approach, and was conducted with 45 teachers in three elementary schools. Data collection involved a researcher journal, reflective feedback forms, teachers' interviews, analysis of teachers' online activities, and analysis of frequency of class website updates.
The findings indicate that the change process that schools went through was substantial. At the teacher level, a significant rise in the quality of the online activities designed by the teachers was found. This progress was demonstrated in the increased use of socio-constructivist pedagogical ideas in those activities. Four typical teacher profiles were found, which describe various processes of professional development, which eventually led to assimilation of online culture in the schools.
At the school level, the average level of online activity gradually increased throughout the three years of the intervention, in spite of a high turnover of teachers. This increase in the online activity was also sustained one year following the intervention period. Findings also indicate that a culture of online activity was developed in the three schools. This culture was expressed in a common language and collaborative work routines shared by the entire staff.
The importance of this research is in demonstrating a practical model for successful assimilation of technology in schools, using existing resources. The socio-constructivist principles expressed in the TPD model strengthened the technological-pedagogical knowledge and skills of the teachers, and enabled them to thoughtfully utilize the added value of online technology for instruction. The research presents one example of the way in which this model can be implemented in elementary schools. This example can inspire other researchers and educators for additional implementations in other educational settings.