Asynchronous Virtual Conversations as Professional Development for In-Service History Teachers

By Cory Callahan.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies

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This paper advances a continuing line of inquiry into the potential of digital educative curriculum materials (ECMs) to support in-service teachers’ development of professional teaching knowledge (PTK). The ECMs featured here engaged middle-school history teachers in eight, mid-semester asynchronous virtual conversations as one component within a year-long professional development program. This qualitative, design-based research investigation asked: To what degree can asynchronous virtual conversations help history teachers create and share PTK? Throughout the online discourse, participants explored substantive pedagogical topics and responded notably to educative video-cases embedded within the ECMs. The asynchronous virtual conversations seemed to help teachers thoughtfully consider tenets of the promoted best-practice pedagogical approach (i.e., problem-based historical inquiry). Findings suggest two implications that concern future teacher-support efforts: discipline-specific online professional development may particularly benefit teachers with fewer firm connections to that discipline, and asynchronous virtual conversations hold potential to be educative complements to professional development programs.

Keywords: Digital Curriculum, Online Professional Development, Professional Teaching Knowledge

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Educational Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2017, pp.27-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 12.476MB).

Dr. Cory Callahan

Assistant Professor, Secondary Social Studies Education, Department Curriculum and Instruction, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA