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Teacher with students

Project SyncOn

Online professional learning for middle grades mathematics teachers in rural contexts 

Research project

Quick facts

Director/PI: Principal Investigator Jeffrey Choppin and Co-Principal Investigator Cynthia Callard

Funding: $2.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation 

Watch the Synchronous Online Professional Development Model video


This project is part of the Warner School's Learning in the Digital Age strategic initiative, a collaborative and multi-disciplinary effort to leverage new technologies and online spaces to enhance learning in K-12, higher education, and other learning environments. The project will be under the direction of Principal Investigator Jeffrey Choppin, associate professor in Teaching and Curriculum, and Co-Principal Investigator Cynthia Callard, who serves as the executive director of the Center for Professional Development and Education Reform. The four-year funding will support research of an online-based professional development model that includes synchronous online courses and online video coaching, in addition to demonstration lessons that can be viewed via online meeting software, with the goal of increasing the quality of professional development opportunities for teachers in rural areas in the United States. The project will study the online professional development activities to better understand the limitations and benefits of conducting such activities in virtual, rather than face-to-face, settings. Findings from the project have the potential to inform the design of professional development in the digital age, and ultimately contribute to research on professional learning in online contexts that extend beyond K-12 education into other areas, such as higher education, the health care profession, and other domains where professional development is needed and would benefit from high-quality online opportunities. Teachers from both upstate New York and Idaho will benefit from this rich set of innovative professional learning experiences, led by Callard and Julie Amador of the University of Idaho.