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Effective Inservice

Moursund, D.G. (1989, 2005). Effective Inservice for Integrating Computer-As-Tool Into the Curriculum. This is a January 2005 reprint of a book first published in 1989.

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Click here for Table of Contents.

Click here for Preface to the January 2005 reprint.

Click here for Preface to the April 1989 printing.

Table of Contents

Preface to the 2005 Reprint 4
Preface to the Original Book 7
Part 1: Introduction And Background 9
Chapter 1.1: Education for the Information Age 9
Chapter 1.2: What is Computer-Integrated Instruction? 13
Chapter 1.3: Roles of Computers in Problem Solving 20
Chapter 1.4: Change Processes in Education 30
Chapter 1.5: Scenarios from an Information Age School 39
Part 2: Effective Inservice Practices 66
Chapter 2.1: Effective Staff Development for Teachers 66
Chapter 2.2: Lit Review: Effective Staff Development for CII 104
Chapter 2.3: Questions and Answers: Ask Dr. Dave 123
Part 3: Evaluation 138
Chapter 3.1: Introduction and Overview 138
Chapter 3.2: Needs Assessment 140
Chapter 3.3: Formative Evaluation 166
Chapter 3.4: Summative Evaluation: Perceived Quality 177
Chapter 3.5: Summative Evaluation: Participant Change 182
References 195

Preface to the 2005 Edition

This book was written/assembled during a $20,000 extension grant of a three-year grant I had from the National Science Foundation. It is a combination of new materials written specifically for this book and various pieces that had previously been written by others and me.

Over the years I have made use of some parts of this book in my teaching. For example, in a course I teach for preservice elementary school teachers who are doing a specialization in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), I always include a substantial unit on Staff Development. Chapter 2.3 is always an assigned reading for that unit.

This book includes a discussion of long-term residual impact evaluation of staff development. One of my students, Vivian Johnson, did her doctoral dissertation on this topic, looking at the residual impact of the three-year NSF grant that I had. She found:

  1. Relatively few projects do long-term residual impact of their effects.
  2. The long-term residual impact of my NSF project was not nearly as large as I would have expected or desired.

In recent years the NSF has begun to understand that there is another long-term residual impact of the projects they fund. This is the impact on the staff conducting the project and the organization in which they work. I have had substantial external funding that has helped to support my career in the field of ICT in education. This has allowed me to translate theory into practice, and it has helped me learn a great deal. The long-term residual impact has been both large and continuing.

In reading this book, I was struck by the relatively modest changes that I have seen in Staff Development during the past 15 years. Staff Development remains as a significant component of efforts to improve the education of PreK-12 students. In terms of ICT in education, staff development has had a significant impact over the years. But, the effectiveness of Staff Development probably has not increased significantly during this time. Moreover, the amount of Staff Development that has been available and its overall effectiveness has not kept up with progress in ICT and the field of ICT in education.

Here is a quote from the Executive Summary of the National Education Technology Plan 2004, U.S. Department Of Education, released January 7, 2005. It is consistent with and supportive of the previous paragraph.

This report was undertaken by the staff of the U.S. Department of Education in response to a request from Congress for an update on the status of educational technology. As the field work progressed, it became obvious that while the development of educational technology was thriving, its application in our schools often was not. Over the past 10 years, 99 percent of our schools have been connected to the Internet with a 5:1 student to computer ratio.

Yet, we have not realized the promise of technology in education. Essentially, providing the hardware without adequate training in its use – and in its endless possibilities for enriching the learning experience – meant that the great promise of Internet technology was frequently unrealized. Computers, instead of transforming education, were often shunted to a “computer room,” where they were little used and poorly maintained. Students mastered the wonders of the Internet at home, not in school.

One of the things that I find to be particularly interesting as I read old books such as this one is to look for what has changed over the years and how these changes compare with the trends and forecasts in the old book. For example, here is a quote from the 1989 book:

Now a counter trend has emerged as people realize that it is not necessary to learn to write computer programs in order to make effective use of a computer. Many introductory courses have reduced their emphasis on computer programming and increased their emphasis on using applications software that use the computer as a tool. Computer literacy courses have been developed that contain little or no computer programming. Secondary school enrollments in computer programming and computer science courses have dropped markedly.

The rapid growth of applications-oriented computer literacy courses have caused a number of educational leaders to ask why such instruction must be limited to a specific course. Would it be better for students if computer applications were taught throughout the curriculum? The idea is that students should make use of the computer as a tool in all courses where appropriate. That is exactly what Computer-Integrated Instruction is about, and it is the main focus of this Notebook.

For the most part, computer programming has disappeared from the commonly-used definition of Computer Literacy.

Recently I read the 1983 revision of a book for School Administrators that I had written in 1980. The 1980 book was written at about the time that Robert Taylor’s “Tutor, Tool, Tutee” book was being published. His book did an excellent job of dividing the field of computers in education into three components: computer-assisted instruction, computer-as-tool, and computer programming—telling a computer what to do. In my 1980 for School Administrators, the term Computer-Assisted Learning tended to be a blend of computer-assisted instruction and tool uses of computers in learning environments. By 1989, the currently used definition prevailed. Quoting from this Effective Inservice 1989 book Learn & Teach Using Computers. A computer may be used as an instructional delivery device. This type of computer use is often called computer-assisted instruction, computer-based instruction, or computer-assisted learning. In this Notebook it is referred to as Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL).

Here is another quote from the 1989 book (written before the advent of the Web):

You will note that we have not mentioned calculators in this section. A calculator can be viewed as a special purpose, more easily portable, less expensive computer. The capabilities of handheld calculators have continued to grow. Very roughly speaking, the best handheld calculators of today are somewhat equivalent in compute power to low to medium priced mainframe computers of about 25-30 years ago, and this 25-30 year gap is being maintained over time. It seems clear that the handheld calculator will be with us for the foreseeable future. (If we want to be a little science fictionish, eventually the handheld calculator will become a voice input device that is part of the telecommunications system. It will be able to handle "simple" problems using its own compute power, and it will serve as both a telephone and as a terminal to mainframe computers, the Library of Congress, etc. rapid progress in telecommunications technology is contributing to significant progress toward networking the world.) [Bold added for emphasis.]

Now, about 16 years later, the bold faced forecast in the above quote is beginning to look like a correct forecast. However, the US Library of Congress is not the dominant player. Rather it the Web that has come into being and is the dominant library for computer-assessable materials.

While most students are learning to use the Web, their depth of understanding of information retrieval as an aid to problem solving is weak. In my opinion, roles of ICT in problem solving remains a glaring example of our inability to mount a sustained and effective staff development program. On average, our inservice teachers and our PreK-12 students are woefully under prepared in understanding and making use of ICT as an aid to representing and helping to solve challenging, novel problems.

To close, I would like to comment about Chapter 1.5: Scenarios from an Information Age School. This chapter represents an important Math Education phase of my career during about 1985-87. During that time I had the opportunity to work with a number of the current and emerging leaders in the field of math education. I got to know some of the NCTM leaders, including a couple of future presidents of NCTM

I like to believe that I helped a little in shaping the NCTM Standards published in 1989. However, my forecasts have not proven correct. My key set of recommendations (embodied in my forecasts) was that by the year 2000:

  1. Preservice and inservice teachers would all have access to an electronic filing cabinet of the types of instruction materials that a typical good math teacher accumulates during a lifetime of teaching.
  2. All students would have easy access to a computer system that included both a full range of math tools and a very large library of aids to learning and using math. Students would be skilled in making use of these computer tools as they represented and solve math problems. Students would be skilled in math-oriented information retrieval.

The Web is beginning to provide some of what I foresaw in (1). However, relatively few math teachers have made good progress in personalizing and routinely adding to “their” electronic library of aids to the curriculum, instruction, and assessment components of their jobs.

The situation for students is much worse. For the most part, students do not have access to the books they have studied in the past, computer-assisted instruction that covers all of the curriculum a typical student might want to study in math, and the wide range of supplemental materials that exist in this field.

David Moursund
January 2005

Preface to the April 1983 Book

This book is designed to help three types of educational leaders:

  1. Educators who are currently learning to design and present inservice for integration of the computer as a tool into the curriculum. These will mainly be well established and quite experienced teachers; they will frequently be school building level computer coordinators or computer representatives.
  2. Educators who are already inservice providers, but who might benefit from a overview of some of the underlying theory and ideas of effective inservice practices, as well as from access to inservice evaluation materials.
  3. Educators who are hiring, supervising, or evaluating inservice providers for computer integrated instruction. In addition to specifically targeting the needs of the three types of practitioners mentioned above, the book is firmly rooted in the research literature of effective inservice. The literature surveys and references it contains are useful to graduate students and researchers in the field of effective inservice.

Effective inservice has been a topic of research and writing for many years. There is a large amount of literature on how to design and implement inservice so that it will accomplish its goals. However, most of this literature is quite general in nature. Relatively little of it is based specifically on the problems facing inservice facilitators in the area of integrating the computer as a tool into the curriculum.

I first began to do inservice education in the summer of 1965. It was then that I designed and implemented a course for secondary school math teachers that focused on roles of computer as a tool in the math curriculum. The course was relatively ineffective because I had little knowledge of how to effectively work with in service teachers. A book such as this would have been very useful tome.

Since then I have designed and conducted a very large number of computer oriented inservice workshops and courses for teachers. Through trial and error (with more errors than I like to admit) I have learned a great deal about how to design and conduct an effective computer integrated instruction inservice. Frequently my work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation. During 1985-1989 I received funding from the National Science Foundation specifically to do research and development on effective inservice for integrating tool use of computers into the precollege curriculum. This book summarizes some of the results of my many years of experience, my personal research, and the experience and research of many other educators.

A Map to the Contents of this Book

The overriding goal of this book is to help improve our educational system. This book can help inservice providers as they work to achieve that goal. The book is divided into three major pans.

Part 1 contains general background information that underlies the tool use of computers in schools. In essence, it is a short computers in education course specifically designed for computer integrated instruction inservice facilitators. If you have a solid background in the field of computers in education, you will be able to skip much of this pan of the book.

Part 2 focuses on what is known about effective inservice, and in particular about inservice for computer-integrated instruction. Most readers will find that this is the heart of the relevant material in the book.

Part 3 contains instrumentation for needs assessment, formative evaluation, and summative evaluation of an inservice. It focuses on the importance of needs assessment, formative evaluation, and summative evaluation in an inservice.

The contents of this book have been extensively tested in a series of inservices on effective inservice conducted during the fall and winter of the 1988-89 academic year. If you have suggestions for additions or revisions, please feel free to contact me. A number of writers have contributed to the contents of this book as it evolved through the work of the National Science Foundation project that I directed during 1985-89. One large section was written by Gall & Renchler and was originally published by ERIC. Several substantial pans of the book were written by Vivian Johnson while she was a member of the NSF project team and was doing her doctorate research. A number of the ideas in this book were contributed by my graduate students who participated in my seminar on effective inservice. I want to thank all who contributed!

Dave Moursund
April 1989

Preface to the January 2005 Reprint

The first and second books book published by the International Council for Computers in Education were:

Moursund, David (1980) School Administrator’s Introduction to Instructional Use of Computers. Eugene, OR: ICCE. Access at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/%7emoursund/Books/SchoolAdmin/SchoolAdministrator.html.

Moursund, David (1980). Teacher’s Guide to Computers in the Elementary School. Eugene, OR: ICCE.

The two books overlap considerable in content. Both were 48 page “booklets” and both sold for $2.50 for a single copy. Both were based on a question and answer format, and both were illustrated by Percy Franklin. The intent in both cases was to keep the books rather easy to read and non-threatening to the reader. Both sold rather well, as there was little competition at that time.

These two books were written nearly 25 years ago. I find it very interesting to reflect on the changes that have occurred in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education during this time period. As I was reading this 1980 booklet for elementary school teachers, I found that I was disappointed in the progress we have made.

It is easy to point the “blame” finger at all kinds of people and organizations. But, here I want to take a different approach. This particular booklet has a strong emphasis on roles of both calculators and computers in problem solving. By 1980 (and earlier) it was quite clear to me that the focus of computers in education needed to be a focus on roles of calculators and computers as an aid to representing and solving problems. By 1980, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics had come out strongly in support of use of calculators.

The human race has survived and prospered because of the very capable brains that people have. Among other things, humans are good at accumulating knowledge and skills, and in sharing knowledge and skills with each other. This sharing often occurs in face-to-face settings. But, this sharing also occurs through the tools that are developed and made available to others, and through written language. The past 250 years have bought us the Industrial Age and the Information Age. The tools, including the ICT tools, have significantly changed our world and the lives of people living in this world.

Reading and writing, along with the Industrial Age and Information Age “progress” have led to an exponential rate of growth in worldwide-accumulated data, information, and knowledge. From a problem-solving point of view, this means that there are a steadily increasing number of problems and problem areas that we (collectively) know a great deal about. The “we” here is people and their collected data, information, knowledge, tools, and so on. The exponential rate of growth means a doubling in some modest number of years, sometime currently estimated at perhaps five to ten years. And, the growth is accompanied by a steadily increasing number of problems that people are studying and dealing with.

Now we are getting to the crux of the matter. The nature and extent of the problems that an ordinary person is faced by in everyday life is growing in breadth, depth, and complexity. This is meant to be a strong assertion, so let’s think about it a little. The general area of health provides an excellent example. You, personally, know many things about food, vitamins and minerals, medicine, exercise, blood pressure, cholesterol, vaccinations, viruses, bacteria, infections, and so on than the leading physicians of a couple of hundred years ago. You have accumulated considerable health-related knowledge that is personally important to you. And, you continue to learn more through a wide variety of resources such as your friends, the media, your doctor(s), and so on.

In recent years, the medicine and health information resources on the Web have become one of the most widely used components of the Web. There is a good chance that you have learned to use the Web as an aid to dealing with health-related problems that interest you. In the process of continuing to expand your knowledge of health-related data, information, and knowledge, you have learned that there is far more to know than you will ever know. You read and hear ads and reports from the media. You have learned that doctors and other sources of information are fallible. You have learned about recalls of various drugs that are damaging some people. Perhaps, at times, you feel overwhelmed by your need to deal with health problems.

Now add to that all of the disciplines that you have studied in school or encountered in other ways. My personal conclusion is that there is no way that I can begin to keep up—to learn about and to effectively deal with the data, information, and knowledge from all of these disciplines that is particularly relevant to my life. I believe that this situation describes all people living in our Industrial/Information Age society.

By now you may be asking, what does all of this have to do with calculators, computers, and other aspects of ICT? There are two parts to my answer:

  1. ICT is contributing a great deal to representing problems, working to solve these problems, and storing and sharing the results of this work. Thus, people doing this type of research and knowledge-building tasks work need a significant level of ICT knowledge and skills.
  2. ICT contributes a great deal to working to automate and/or simplify the processes that people use as they solve the problems that they encounter in their everyday lives, jobs, and soon. Thus, people living in an Industrial/Information Age society need a significant level of ICT knowledge and skills relevant to such problem solving in their everyday lives.

It is the second situation that underlies the purpose of this 25-year old book and my current comments given here. A modern education needs to include a major focus on problem solving situations that a person encounters in their everyday lives. When new tools—in this case, ICT tools—are developed, they are both a source of new problems and an aid to representing and solving old and new problems.

Some of the new tools are so transparent (easy to use, easy to learn how to use) that no school time need be spent in learning to use the tools. For example, I doubt if you needed to take a course in order to learn to use a cell telephone. But, others of these tools take some, and perhaps a great deal of time and effort to learn to effectively use. It is here that formal education can make a difference. And, it is here where our schools are doing poorly.

I’ll close with one simple example. In their everyday lives, quite a few people encounter “simple” computation tasks such as adding fractions or calculating the sum of products of pairs of numbers. Some of the former types of calculations are trivial, such as 1/6 + 1/3 = 1/2. Some can be done mentally. Some can be estimated accurately enough to effectively deal with the situation.

And, some require the type of auxiliary or temporary memory aids provided by pencil and paper. As an example, probably you cannot readily do the following calculation in your head:

(23.5 x 14.8) + (16.9 x 54.3) + (83.6 x 31.4)

Indeed, you might find it to be a reasonably challenging paper and pencil activity, and perhaps you would produce a result that is not correct.

However, this is an easy activity that can be accomplished quickly using a calculator and without use of paper and pencil. That is because almost all inexpensive 4-function calculators have a M+ key and a MR key. Here, M stands for “memory.” The calculator has a memory location where it can store an answer, roughly in the same way that you would write down an answer, and then use it later. To do this calculation, key in 23.5 x 14.8 = and then the M+ key. The result of the multiplication is added to the memory location (which began at zero, if you just turned on your calculator and/or cleared the memory). Continue by keying in 16.9 x 54.3 = and then M+. The second multiplication is done and the result is added to the current number in the memory. Continue by keying in 83.6 x 31.4 = and then M+. Finally, key MR (memory recall) and the final answer is displayed.

The same general approach works for adding fractions.

As you can see, it is easy to learn to use the M+ and MR keys to work with the memory location in a calculator. It takes a few minutes of instruction to learn to do this. Most adults who own calculators have not learned to use this feature of their calculators! In my opinion, this represents a (small, easily correctable) flaw in our formal educational system. Also, it means that students are not getting a chance to learn a little bit about computer memory (which is the same as calculator memory). They are getting a school-taught or self-taught knowledge of calculators as “black box” that sort of magically can do routine calculations and calculate square roots. I am saddened by the fact that our school system has not done better over the past 25 years.

This same “black box” approach is being used in much of the computers in education instruction that students are receiving. I strongly believe that we can do better.

David Moursund
January 2005