Muriel Wells and Damian Blake- 2008

Knowledge work: developing a framework for effective teacher professional development

This project explores how school improvement initiatives can be designed and sustained by the development of a 'Framework for Reflective Practice: Teacher Professional Development in the 21st Century'. This framework draws on the understandings of professional action research. This will be an opportunity to develop a framework to support reflective practice that might be used across a range of educational contexts. The use of a new piece of software called 'Open Mind' that might be used by faculty researchers and professional development providers.

Open Mind is a professional mind mapping software application that allows the user to brainstorm and visualize ideas. Mind mapping helps to organise complex ideas or processes to increase understanding, plan more efficiently and turn ideas into action faster. It integrates with Microsoft Office. Open Mind lets the user capture and reuse the full potential of a mind map in other environments.

The researchers believe that this software provides an opportunity to design professional development differently by more easily personalising the design of professional action research based learning.

The aims of this research are to:

  • explore the possibilities of using Open Mind software to design an effective 'Framework for Reflective Practice: Teacher Professional Development in the 21st Century'
  • explore the ways that artefacts produced by Open Mind can be used to design productive professional development within a professional action research model.

This project represents one stage of a broader investigation into how teachers' professional learning may be enhanced by positioning teachers as researchers and professionals who are capable of generating valued publications about their journey within the research project. It will serve as a base-line study to inform and facilitate the development of CRGS and ARC-Linkage grant applications allowing more extensive data collection over three years.

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