Developing a Professional Development Collaboratory: August 18-31, 2008

Welcome: Professional Development Collaboratory

Re: Professional Development Collaboratory--Wiki?

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Number of replies: 2
Hi Chris,
Your statement that the reasons are as varied as the educators is interesting since I will be researching instructor experiences with technology in blended learning courses. If your prediction is true, I may have a very interesting study. However, I was just reading an interesting article by Bryan Moseley and Daniel Dustin (2008) called Teaching as Chaos. Chaos theory suggests that chaos exists if we cannot predict behavior or outcomes. According to the article (Moseley & Dustin, 2008), learning in a classroom follows the chaos theory. Would using technology via blended learning fit in with the chaos theory?

Moseley, B., & Dustin, D. (2008, Summer). Teaching as chaos. College Teaching, 56(3), 140-142. Retrieved August 28, 2008, from EBSCOhost database.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Professional Development Collaboratory--Wiki?

by Christine Horgan -


Great questions!

I don't know enough about Chaos Theory to offer a confident answer but your question has me thinking about it. Despite the best-laid plans of a teacher, there is an element of chaos in any classroom (triggered by any number of events happening in and around the classroom). Blended learning evolves with time and evolution is change (and I think this is the basis of chaos theory, isn't it?)

How does this link to PD?

Perhaps  faculty will move away from learning how to manage the software and hardware and they will more toward asking how best to use technology (and whether or not it's required) for themselves and for their learners.

Perhaps electronic PD is part of that new conversation.

Cheers, Chris

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: Professional Development Collaboratory--Wiki?

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
I consider Information static unless it is activated. Informing educators may be important, but it is not enough. Education and professional development should cause some form of change. Because the change that may occur is unpredictable, it is considered chaotic. However, provoking turbulence and chaos helps get the learners attuned and ready for the research-based information. wide eyes

Bevan (2006) came up with the chaos theory as he considered the following questions at a secondary school:
  1. What research-based knowledge do you use?
  2. How do you use it? (p. 55)
The answers to the first questions were:
  1. Effective approaches to assessment
  2. Improved strategies for revision classes
  3. Informed responses to school transfer (from Primary to Secondary)
  4. Computers as tools for learning
  5. Effective implementation of staff development
The answers to the second were:
  • turbulence caused by the 'stone in the stream';
  • resolved, in turn, through channel depth;
  • the fluidity of the stream: 'water not tarmac'; and
  • the purposeful direction: 'it goes nowhere'. (p. 60)
I find that causing turbulence can be a good thing if it is well planned and facilitated fearlessly. Has anyone tried the technique or something similar?

Bevan, R. M. (2006, July). Turbulent flow into smooth stream: Transferring research knowledge between academic environments and practitioner contexts. Reflecting Education, 2(1), 55-72. Retrieved August 29, 2008, from