EDT 506 - Final Presentation

By Nicole Smith

How can we use Ed Tech to improve the teacher's role in education so that they feel supported in the digital 21st century classroom?

  • Does teaching experience (the number of years) play a part?

  • When receiving support, what form(s) of professional development do teachers prefer?

  • What kind of support do teachers wish they had when it comes to technology?
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Click here here to access the narrated version of my study, which includes audio segments describing the research topic, purpose, recommendations, and conclusions after conducting my research.


26 Middle School Teachers (Grades 6-8) from the Charter School for Applied Technologies, from varying teaching areas (i.e. Art, ELA, Math, P.E., Social Studies, Science, Spanish, Special Education, etc.)

The Charter School for Applied Technologies is located in Buffalo, New York. The middle school recently (2014) relocated to the former Holy Angels academy building.


At the Charter School for Applied Technologies, there’s been a lot of buzz about the need for more professional development with the current technology tools in the classrooms. In order to get a better understanding of CSAT teachers needs and frustrations, an electronic survey through Google Forms was utilized to collect the data.

Study Findings

What do teachers want? What do they wish they had? What changes need to be made? Take a look at the data collected from the Google Forms technology survey:

A Quote from Stephen Brown:

“Teachers are not opposed to the technology itself, but they shared a set of common concerns: lack of professional development, unrealistic expectations, an unclear vision and purpose, and insufficient time.” (2015)

So now what? How can teachers be supported?

When it comes to classroom technology, professional development should take a new form, where faculty can choose from several different modalities, such as:

#1: A Virtual Tech Coach

One trending model of technology professional development is the virtual technology coach. Sugar & van Tryon (2010) analyzed results obtained from sixty teachers, in an attempt to provide an online professional development experience and form a professional learning community of educators. Their results indicated that various resources like discussions, collaboration, and current news and updates related to instructional technology activities proved to be valuable forms of professional development to those surveyed. Their results also closely align with the NETS*C standards where with implementation, virtual professional development could serve as a foundation of to supporting teachers in schools proper technology integration strategies for the classroom. A virtual tech coaching model could be a great opportunity for CSAT teachers to access trainings, ideas, and curriculum implementations on their own time.

#2: Student Access to New Literacies

In order for students to thrive in the wired world, students need to master new ways to read, write, and communicate in our digital world. This includes learning how to effectively locate, analyze and synthesize information with meaning. After conducting this study and analyzing the results and feedback, one recommendation that I am making to district administrators is to encourage more funding for devices and access to the digital world. Without having equitable access, students are not going to get ample opportunities to grow and strengthen their new literacies skills needed for college and career.

#3: Twitter and Other Social Media

"The goal is to build large and sustainable online communities that will allow teachers to share practices, access experts, and solve problems.” (Duncan, 2011, p. 11) If school districts mimic this idea, professionals can participate in engaging conversations with people across the Earth, information can be organized and curated by the use of hashtags in seconds, learning can be a two-way street where teachers can not only read but also share information; this is just a short list of the many benefits that Twitter and social media can provide for any classroom.
Social Media: Making Connections Through Twitter

#4: Un-Conferences

Participants propose the content of the workshops or meetings, and also have the opportunity to lend their expertise to facilitate learning. edCamp’s are picking up momentum and popularity and have been proven to empower teachers within the participant-driven unconference format. It’s an innovative model for professional learning (Lee, 2013).
EdCamp 101


“Similar to our students, teachers learn in a variety of ways that require a differentiated approach to enhance their tech skills in the classroom.” (Brown, 2015) When it comes to classroom technology, professional development should take a new form, where faculty can choose from several different modalities: one-on-one, content teams, grade-level, virtual/online, etc.

After analyzing the results from this study and conferring with the district superintendent at CSAT, a goal has been set to offer teachers and staff MORE opportunities for technology professional development in the following ways (but not limited to):

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The anticipated outcome of providing this "menu" of PD opportunities is that teachers will feel more supported and better equipped with technology. Additionally, teachers will gain new knowledge in utilizing technology and the new literacies more effectively in their classrooms with their students.


Beglau, M., Hare, J. C., Foltos, L., Gann, K., James, J., Jobe, H., . . . Smith, B. (2011). Technology, coaching and community [PDF Document]. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from ISTE website: http://www.iste.org/resources/product?ID=2157

Brown, S. (2015, Fall). iPhone, iPad, iCRY! Momentum, 46(4), 26-29. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.canisius.edu/docview/1733615656?accountid=26533

Duncan, A. (2011). Harness the Power of Technology. Learning & Leading with Technology, 38(8), 10-13. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ935414.pdf

Fullan, M. (2007) The new meaning of educational change. Fourth Edition. New York: Teachers College Press.

Lee, S. H. (2014, January 14). EdCamp 101 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7DwCI7j0Bg

Leu, D. J., Zawilinski, L., Forzani, E., & Timbrell, N. (2014). Best practices in teaching the new literacies of online research and comprehension.

Sugar, W., & van Tryon, P. S. (2014). Development of a virtual technology coach to support technology integration for K-12 educators. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to

Improve Learning, 58(3), 54-62. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.canisius.edu/docview/1518803597?pq-origsite=summon