Secondary Teacher Education Project: Toward a Distributed Professional Community Model

Team Leader: Sharon J. Derry

Project goal: The STEP Team  is developing and testing a technology-based model for better educating future secondary teachers in cognitive-instructional science and how it can be used to design instruction that promotes scientific and mathematical reasoning and literacy. Research aims to understand and improve the learning that occurs in the STEP community and other similar types of distributed professional development programs made possible by modern communication technologies such as the world wide web. Research falls into four areas:

(1) Studies of On-Line Process Assessment, pioneering ideas for automated and partially-automated assessment of on-line group interaction, (2) Studies of On-Line Learning and Collaboration, comprising studies of learning outcomes and productivity of on-line instructional interaction, (3) Studies of Teacher Beliefs and Belief Change, a longitudinal study of the impact of the STEP program on secondary students' epistemological beliefs, and (4) Science and Math Education Learning Technologies (SMELT), comprising studies of the integration, testing, and design of learning technology. The STEP model will be implemented and tested within the UW-Madison School of Education in the year 2000.  

Products: The STEP Web site ( STEP/) has two main components. For preservice and inservice teachers, the Teacher Professional Development Resources (TPDR) section and the Knowledge Web offer multimedia materials to support and guide teachers as they learn instructional psychology and its application to technology-enhanced instructional design. The Research section contains detailed descriptions of the project's various research initiatives and links to available papers. The Knowledge Web, in progress, is designed as a multimedia resource for secondary and college teachers from various disciplines.  The Tool Box is a handy set of links to software and web resources to help design instructional units. The Learning Modules are a selected collection of student instructional design projects.  

Fellow: Marcelle Siegel

National Institute for Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Last Updated:  May 05, 2003