Lessons on the Satellite: What teachers say about professional development via the Interactive Satellite Learning Network

Year: 1995

Author: Allard, Andrea, Dick, Bev, McKernan, Helen, Ryan, Jacqui

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the last three years, the Interactive Satellite Learning Network (ISLN) has been used to deliver a range of professional development programs for teachers across the country.

This paper discusses the responses collected from primary and secondary teachers to three series of professional development programs, in particular: 'I Spy Technology: Girls in Country Schools'; 'Maths and Science for Girls in Secondary Schools'; and 'Gender Issues in the Curriculum'.

All three series of programs were formatted around teams of teachers undertaking investigations and activities in their own schools to explore the new ideas conveyed during the on-air satellite broadcasts.

All three series of programs relied on extensive feedback from the teams of teacher involved regarding the presentations, content of programs, activities undertaken during and between programs and theoretical ideas presented. This feedback, which provides the data for this paper, was faxed into presenters at the conclusion of each program in a series; the teachers' responses were often used to inform the direction and content of the subsequent programs.

While some of the participating teams' comments suggest confusion or ambivalence regarding the process of interactive satellite learning, the comments gathered from the three series of programs and spanning three years, provide clear directions for ways to better utilise the new technology for future professional development programs.

Teachers' suggestions concerning what 'worked' and 'didn't work' offer valuable insights, raise important questions and need to be taken into account if professional development programs are to be successfully delivered via the ISLN.

The authors of this paper have all been directly involved in planning, writing and presenting programs in the above named series on the ISLN.