International Panel: Bridging Policy and Practice
A Focus on Teacher Preparation

The Case of the United States: One Model of Commercial Professional Development

Prepared by Johnny W. Lott, and Linda Antinone

One highly successful model of professional development used in the United States for over 15 years is the Teachers Teaching with Technology (T3) model developed through Texas Instruments and under the original direction of Ohio State University (OSU) mathematics professors, Bert Waits and Franklin Demana. Waits and Demana co-wrote materials for Precalculus: A Graphing Approach and, with high school teachers, co-taught the course during the 1987-1988 academic year.

In the summer of 1988, the first Computers and Calculators in Precalculus (C2PC) Institutes were offered with more than 80 teachers from around the nation participating in a weekend, a one-week, or a two-week institute on the OSU campus. These teachers used handheld graphing calculators to study the power of visualization in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Growth in this type of institute was rapid, and in the summer of 1993 Waits and Demana helped 34 high school teachers develop materials for algebra, precalculus and calculus institutes, and the name for the institutes was changed to the current Teachers Teaching with Technology™.

Growth in the T3 program was almost instantaneous with more than 2000 teachers participating in the summer of 1993 and more than 3000 in the summer of 1994. With such wide acceptance, the program was moved to the University of Texas at Arlington in Arlington, Texas. Since that time, institutes have been developed in geometry, statistics, middle school mathematics, and elementary school mathematics, primarily from within the teachers in the project, but also with some outside help from faculty advisors. The menu of institutes was further expanded to include the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, developing Modeling and Data Analysis as a T3 affiliate institute.

As a result of the explosion of course offerings, in 1995 there were more than 6,000 teachers participating in 211 institutes in 42 states and Puerto Rico. Also in 1995 a team from Pennsylvania State University developed a second affiliate institute around using computer algebra systems in the teaching of algebra courses. A team at Ohio State University developed a similar institute for calculus. Next came a chemistry/biology institute, an elementary institute, as well as institutes for advanced statistics and analytical geometry, and for dealing with data in middle school math and science. In 1997, another affiliate institute was added, Integrated Mathematics on the TI-92 (IM92). Systemic Initiative developed by the Montana Mathematics and Science Project (SIMMS). By the end of August 1997, T3 had directly served more than 30,000 classroom teachers.

This type of work has continued and is enhanced by a technology conference that is held annually. The difference between this work and other professional development programs is that T3 is a joint commercial and school/university/association venture. In the case of the SIMMS Project, a curriculum development, and its work in producing the integrated mathematics institute, some seed money was provided by Texas Instruments to bring writers and developers together. The materials for high school classes had previously been prepared by the project under the direction of the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). A week-long institute, complete with detailed books of participant and instructor materials, was developed by melding the expertise of curriculum developers, the technology of Texas Instruments, and reviewers in other places. The institute was then advertised and offered to the public through the T3 program. The materials for the institute are owned by MCTM. Texas Instruments provides advertising and arrangements. Participants pay to attend the institute which can be offered at various locations throughout the country.

Details of the week-long institute on integrated mathematics follow:

Day 1-Overview: Calculator Basics and Graphing
Day 2-Data Analysis and CBLs
Day 3-Geometry
Day 4-Algebra
Day 5-Text Editor Problems/Solutions

Each day has a specific menu of problems designed to ensure that participants consider mathematics and how technology could be used to enhance the learning of mathematics. Also, though each day has a specific topic, the material is integrated across content areas, but the specific day concentrates on problems that have the specific content as the primary vehicle for solution. In this commercial model, participation is voluntary, and participants pay to attend. To aid the effort, MCTM typically has worked to provide instructors and aides, and Texas Instruments has provided technology. It has been a productive union of two very different groups that provide professional development to teachers at the secondary level. This model could potentially be useful in other parts of the world.

Reference: [Note: Much of the history of the Teachers Teaching with Technology institutes comes from this web site.]

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