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Meeting the Professional Development Needs of Special Educators in 21st Century Classrooms

Meeting the Professional Development Needs of Special Educators in 21st Century Classrooms
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Author(s): Elizabeth Hardman (Northcentral University, USA)
Copyright: 2016
Pages: 17
Source title: Revolutionizing K-12 Blended Learning through the i²Flex Classroom Model
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Maria D. Avgerinou (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece) and Stefanos P. Gialamas (American Community Schools (ACS) Athens, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0267-8.ch005

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Abstract

This chapter describes the challenges personnel preparation programs meet when preparing pre-service special educators for service in today's technology rich classrooms. The author used action research methodology to explore the feasibility of developing a virtual Professional Learning Community (PLC) for the purpose of building a collaborative culture of learning in special education and providing pre-service and novice special educators access to networks of support. A wiki and Ning provided the basic infrastructure for the virtual PLC and the data collected from the websites were analyzed using the eight essential characteristics of PLC development. The results showed that the PLC membership participated in community work primarily as observers only, relying almost entirely on the teacher educator to direct and manage all facets of community work. The implications of the research are discussed with respect to how personnel preparation programs prepare teachers for service in in 21st Century classrooms.

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