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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
Online Professional Development Opportunity for Kindergarten Teachers
Filiz VAROL
Fırat Üniversity

Yalın Kılıç TÜREL
Fırat Üniversity
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Sempozyum: 6th Internatıonal Computer and Instructıonal Technologies Symposium
Online Professional Development Opportunity for Kindergarten Teachers
Filiz VAROL
Fırat Üniversity

Yalın Kılıç TÜREL
Fırat Üniversity
Abstract :

Even though children’s understanding in many areas continues to develop considerably during the early years, only a relatively small number of studies have reported classroom practices at the kindergarten level. While those studies that have been done reveal the missing opportunities for most kindergarten children, they also show the weak nature of instruction that was observed. Moreover, those studies are evidence of a mismatch between what teachers reported as important for learning and their practices observed in classrooms. Therefore, providing professional development programs for kindergarten teachers to help them enrich their instruction is a critical necessity. Note that in the present study, the term professional development is used to refer to training that gives any experiences for teachers that are intentional, ongoing, and structured, that is provided outside of the formal education system and has the goal of increasing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of teachers.

Learning technologies for the professional development of learners have emerged recently. While it gives teachers time for refl ection, it also allows for fl exibility in scheduling and timing. In addition, it gives teachers the ownership of their own development. Examples of such learning technologies are the World Wide Web, electronic portfolios, multimedia resources, e-mails, video-conferences, web-based discussion software, and so on. For this particular study, the main goal is to analyze and design an online professional development program for kindergarten teachers to support their classroom practices. While designing the program four critical factors were taken into account: motivational context, a well-structured knowledge base, learner activities, and interaction with others. To design such an eff ective environment, ten kindergarten teachers’ thoughts about such professional development program were obtained. They specifically stated that they needed a website that should have specific goals and objectives that are in line with teachers’ goals and objectives.

In addition to that, they would prefer to have a forum where they could share their ideas, thoughts, and issues they face in classroom and seek for solutions; and to see example activities they could conduct and materials they could enrich their instruction. After the website was initially designed, the test run of the program was conducted with the same kindergarten teachers. Based on the interviews with the teachers about the program, some improvements including changing the text font and size and enlarging the buttons to make it more user-friendly, adding more pictures explaining the steps to design an instructional material were made. The next step is to make it more accessible to other early childhood teachers

Keywords : online professional development, kindergarten teachers, instructional quality
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