A new system that trains teachers in how to use technology to teach students developed through an Iowa State University research lab is said to be showing promise. Gary Phye, is the director of the Psychology in Education Research Laboratory at ISU.
Phye says the idea is to use technology to help teachers improve their teaching skills with technology and regular instruction and that will lead to better performance for students. The I-S-U lab is working with Iowa Department of Education and the state’s area education agencies in testing the new method. Phye says it’s more of a top down approach.
Phye says they think of it as more of a communication and education system, rather than just giving students a floppy disc and telling them to put it in the computer. Phye says they used the new technology-based teaching strategies to teach seventh grade math in 20 schools in central Iowa.
Phye says they found improvement, particularly in the "lower ability" students in bringing them up to a proficiency level. Phye says the system uses two-way videoconferencing technology to help the teachers learn how to use the technology. Phye says it provides the teachers with constant support among themselves along with contact with the education agencies who’re conducting the professional development, and with the universities if there’s a need to talk with them. Phye says, "It’s an incredibly, I think , effective support system." Phye says they’re continuing to work with the program and collecting data for possible in a statewide system.