Title: Moving Professional Development Training for In-service Teachers Online: Complications and Accomplishments in Project Talent
Stream: Professional Training, Development & Concerns in Education
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation
Jane Elizabeth Casey, Texas A & M University - Central Texas, United States
Project TALENT, Transforming Agricultural Literacy-learning & ENhancing Team-teaching, is a USDA grant-funded project designed to provide an innovative Professional Development (PD) opportunity for in-service 5th through 9th grade STEM teachers working in rural, central Texas and serving underserved (i.e., rural, Hispanic, economically disadvantaged, ELLs, at-risk, migrant/transient) students. Due to Covid-19, the planned PD training in 2020 moved to an online format, which changed the nature of the training and preparation of in-service teachers. Through the development of the online modules, the lengthened time-frame, and the learning in isolation, PD training was not as successful as it might have been. Although there were accomplishments, there were also a number of complications. The TALENT Model was developed to train teachers in a pedagogical approach that aligned content with identified real-world issues, with support from agricultural experts and business leaders. In practice, experts would become part of the teaching; and students would learn how to investigate identified problems as teachers incorporated these issues into classroom instruction through simulation, replication, and problem-based learning undergirded with co-teaching, AVID strategies, and the 5E model. In this fashion, instruction was designed to increase students’ agricultural literacy. However, teacher-participants were introduced to the TALENT Model in a digital format, and this greatly changed the nature of the interactions with agricultural experts. In 2021, a hybrid approach produced better results and incorporated innovative technology into the PD design. Online and hybrid PD training for Project TALENT had many accomplishments, but there were also some complications when training moved online.
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