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Providing Elementary and Middle School Science Teachers with Content and Pedagogical Professional Development in an Online Environment

Providing Elementary and Middle School Science Teachers with Content and Pedagogical Professional Development in an Online Environment
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Author(s): Mary V. Mawn (SUNY Empire State College, USA) and Kathleen S. Davis (University of Massachusetts – Amherst, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 21
Source title: STEM Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch032

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Abstract

There is a great need to provide science teachers with on-going and relevant professional development, but access to such opportunities can be challenging due to time, distance, and budget pressures. Online courses and programs can provide alternatives to address these challenges. This chapter presents approaches, findings, and recommendations for online professional development of elementary and middle school science teachers based on a case study of an online science education course and an online chemistry course. Three themes are discussed: the ability to incorporate inquiry-based teaching and learning in online environments, the importance of online discourse and reflection, and the role of linking theory with practice. Teacher participants reported increased experience exploring content via inquiry, felt actively engaged with their peers as they constructed their knowledge, and expected to adapt inquiry-based activities in their classrooms as a result of these online courses.

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