Analysis of the Evolution of an Online Professional Development System in Geography Education
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This longitudinal study extended across three and a half years and measured teacher receptivity to three different types of professional development delivery systems in geography (face-to-face, online, hybrid). Following an incremental learning process, each experimental situation was built on the results of prior workshops. While the Geography: Teaching with the Stars programs are designed to be self-sustainable, requiring teachers to access a website and essentially self-guide themselves using the component parts of the series, the hybrid approach was designed to allow teachers to use online professional development in combination with traditional methods of teacher training (face-to-face in-service workshops and summer institutes). The Learning Cluster Method was developed to broaden the distribution of online professional development in order to reach a broader spectrum and larger numbers of teachers, encourage the formation of an online learning community, and facilitate a gateway to the development and enhancement of teacher leadership skills among participants. In order to meet these goals and provide the opportunity for teachers to receive the highest quality training, each of these approaches was analyzed to determine teacher satisfaction, and provide a formative evaluation of an increasingly sophisticated professional development system in geography.