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Professional development in the area of autism: effectiveness of collaboration in online and face-to-face learning formats

Description

Effectively educating students with autism is a necessary element in providing all students with a free and appropriate public education, and as the number of students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder continues to increase in both public and private

Effectively educating students with autism is a necessary element in providing all students with a free and appropriate public education, and as the number of students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder continues to increase in both public and private educational settings, providing successful and satisfactory professional development opportunities in the area of autism is becoming increasingly essential. This study explored the experiences of twenty-three educators in a suburban southwest K-12 public school district, as they participated in a fifteen-hour professional development course in an online or face-to-face format, and collaboratively problem-solved their challenges in educating students with autism. Qualitative data was collected from participants' weekly written reflections and comments from a pre- and post-survey on attitudes, to determine quality of and satisfaction with collaboration in relation to course format. Results indicated that the online format produced higher-quality collaboration when it came to presenting one's own situation(s) to the group, finding group discussions helpful, having enough time to collaborate, providing feedback/suggestions to group members, and perceiving suggestions for one's own situation as helpful (as evidenced by the number of suggestions that participants said they would likely implement). The face-to-face format produced higher-quality collaboration when it came to in-depth problem-solving regarding a situation, implementing suggestions for one's own situation, and relating course content to collaborative activities. Participants' attitudes about using technology as a means of collaboration showed little change overall from pre- to post-survey. Though slight increases in positive attitudes concerning technology were found in various areas, many participants still thought highly of a face-to-face format for collaborative purposes, even after participating in the online professional development course. Findings may be of use to educational institutions developing online or face-to-face professional development opportunities in the area of autism.

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Date Created
2011

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Effects of alternate format in-service delivery on teacher knowledge base and problem-solving related to autism & adaptations: what teachers need to know

Description

This study's purpose was to explore effectiveness of alternate format in-service delivery for what teachers needed to know to effectively teach their students with Autism Spectrum Disorder/High Functioning Autism/Asperger Syndrome (ASD/HFA/AS) in the general education setting. The study's research questions

This study's purpose was to explore effectiveness of alternate format in-service delivery for what teachers needed to know to effectively teach their students with Autism Spectrum Disorder/High Functioning Autism/Asperger Syndrome (ASD/HFA/AS) in the general education setting. The study's research questions included: Did participants learn information they needed as well using asynchronous online in-service format models as when in a traditional face-to-face consultative approach? Did the use of a broad asynchronous online discussion approach to collaboration result in effective student problem-solving for the participants? Did participant attitudes change toward online instruction as a means of collaboration as a result of engaging in alternate in-service delivery models? A fifteen-hour staff development course was developed and taught to 24 teacher/educators in a suburban southwest K-12 public school district. The course content was organized around topics derived from an earlier data collection and included what teachers said they needed to know, from whom, and how. A free, simple asynchronous online environment was created for the course and online participation for learning and collaboration activities was requested of two participant groups, hybrid or online. Quantitative data was collected from Pre-/Post-Tests and survey. Qualitative data was collected from weekly collaborative problem-solving reflections. Results indicated that educators improved knowledge base in ASD/HFA/AS characteristics and adaptations and found collaborative online problem-solving about students effective and personally satisfactory. Results for online participants during the alternate format delivery sessions of the course were stronger than hybrid format although both appeared to profit from the use of technology. All participants changed their view to positively value asynchronous online formats for learning and collaborating with other teachers to find out what they needed to know to implement in the classroom in efficient and economical ways.

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Date Created
2010

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Enhancing teacher collaboration: effectiveness of collaboration in online and face-to-face learning formats

Description

As a result of the district program evaluation, a follow up on teacher perceptions of an online collaboration versus face to face collaboration approach was deemed necessary. The interviews were conducted with eight teachers from a suburban southwest K-8 public

As a result of the district program evaluation, a follow up on teacher perceptions of an online collaboration versus face to face collaboration approach was deemed necessary. The interviews were conducted with eight teachers from a suburban southwest K-8 public school district. After all teachers had participated in a 10 week program evaluation comparing online team teacher collaboration with face-to-face team teacher collaboration, the interview process began. One teacher from each grade level team was randomly selected to participate in the interview process. Analysis of the interview responses was inconclusive. Findings were confounded by the apparent lack of understanding of major concepts of Professional Learning Communities on the part of the participants. Assumptions about participant knowledge must be tested prior to investigations of the influence of either face to face or online format as delivery modes.

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Date Created
2013