Evaluation of a professional development program on integrating technology into middle schools : classroom environment and student attitudes
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The Alliance+ project is a teacher professional development program that integrates technology into mathematics and science lessons. The effectiveness of this innovative program was evaluated in terms of students‟ perceptions of the classroom learning environment and their attitudes towards science/mathematics. The sample consisted of 759 students of seven mathematics/science teachers (four Alliance+ participants and three non-participants) in one middle school in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The students responded to learning environment scales based on the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES) and the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) questionnaires to assess their perceptions of the classroom learning environment. Additionally, they responded to an attitude scale modeled on the Test Of Science-Related Attitudes (TOSRA) to assess their attitudes towards mathematics/science. It was found that Alliance+ teachers were more successful than the non-Alliance+ teachers in promoting a classroom environment with more cooperation among students during the science/mathematics lessons. Additionally, Alliance+ professional development model was differentially effective for mathematics and science teachers in terms of three learning environment scales (namely, Teacher Support, Cooperation, and Critical Voice), but not in terms of students‟ attitudes to science. In terms of Cooperation, Alliance+ teachers were more effective than non-Alliance+ teachers for mathematics, but comparable in effectiveness to non-Alliance+ teachers for science. For Critical Voice, Alliance+ teachers were slightly more effective than non-Alliance+ teachers for mathematics, but considerably less effective than non-Alliance+ teachers for science.In terms of Teacher Support, Alliance+ were less effective than non-Alliance+ teachers for science, but comparable in effectiveness to non-Alliance+ teachers for mathematics. However, teachers who did not participate in the Alliance+ project were more effective than the teachers who participated in the Alliance+ project in providing a positive learning environment in which the students perceived more teacher support and in promoting positive attitudes towards science/mathematics. Qualitative data results revealed that the Alliance+ teachers had not received sufficient support from their school administrators and Alliance+ trainers and lacked the resources that were necessary for them to implement the project successfully, which could possibly be an explanation for the quantitative results in favor of the non-Alliance+ teachers. This study also investigated outcome-environment associations. It was found that associations existed between students‟ attitudes towards science/mathematics and their perceptions of the classroom leaning environment (especially personal relevance, teacher support, and cooperation).
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