HOV Hands-On / Virtual Workshops in Physics for Rural Teachers

Grants and Contracts Details


We propose to develop a hybrid hands-on / virtual model for workshops in physics, which provides in-depth and on-going professional development at participating teachers' own schools by a combination of hands-on learning and Internet/distance learning technologies. The primary focus is the hands-on and inquiry nature of science, and the continuing nature of effective teacher professional development. The proposed project goals include demonstrating this model for professional development in physics for grade 4-8 teachers in rural schools. Teachers will achieve improved levels of content understanding in physics and inquiry instructional strategies, and will apply their new understanding in their own classrooms. Project activities center on National Standards based physics instructional units. Each unit is centers on a kit of science materials for hands-on study, a CD ROM containing content information and workshop guidance, and various forms of ongoing interaction/support with project leaders and peers. We will pilot and evaluate 5 content units, and evaluate this training methodology. The pilot groups will conduct initial testing of the prototype units in conditions that emulate how they will be used - small groups of 2-4 teachers working at their own schools in a variety of rural settings. These studies will involve approximately 375 teachers, in 140 small groups. Development will culminate with dissemination to entities serving rural districts across the nation. The innovation of this project lies in: 1) identifying critical attributes of several effective professional development strategies - direct experience with hands-on materials, on-site experiences that embed learning in teachers' context, group-based organization to foster reflection and collegial support, using technology for access to science content and remote support - and combining them into a coherent hybrid model appropriate for small pockets of teachers in isolated rural settings; and 2) incorporating design features - simple materials in the activities, minimal requirements for needed technology, remote access to expertise - that recognize the challenges faced by rural schools and facilitate participants' success.
Effective start/end date10/1/019/30/05


  • Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Ed: $539,992.00


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