are dissatisfied with current forms of professional development and would welcome an opportunity to shape new approaches. Many are using information technologies more intensively in their classrooms and recognize the potential of online approaches for learning. “If you give teachers a tool that makes their job better, they will do everything to knock down the door and get it,” said Janet English. “If you try to take it away, you had better watch out. They want to learn. They want to be the best teachers possible. They want their kids to learn.”

Teachers currently have a unique opportunity to gain a new role in decisions about professional development, said California TAC chair Stan Hitomi of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in Danville. “Looking at the latest reports that have been coming out, this is a very special time. The country’s attention has turned to science and math and what needs to be done. It is the work of groups like this one today that will inform policy makers on the type of data that will be important…. Teachers are engaged in a dialogue with people who can make a difference.” As Valdine McLean put it, “professional development needs to make science teachers exciting, so that they can make their students very excited about science, so that they can come and fill our shoes, so that our nation won’t be left behind.”

Traditional approaches to professional development need to change. The advent of online learning has presented teachers with a chance to gain a direct voice in the planning and organization of professional development. “In too many districts, it’s someone in the central office who decides what it’s going to be,” said National Academies TAC member Elizabeth Carvellas of Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont. “If you involve the teachers, you are going to get the buy-in, and you are going to get what you need for professional development, whether it’s online or face-to-face. Please involve the teachers.”



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