2015 News

2015 Promethean School Innovation Initiative

USF College of Education helping teachers engage students with cutting edge classroom technology

Rebecca West Burns, Allison Papke, James Welsh, University of South Florida
Pablo Pittaluga, Promethean Technology, Inc.

Children working on interactive table top touch screen

Technology continuously surrounds us as a society, but finding the same degree and use of technology in the classroom has presented more of a challenge (Potter & Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2012). This is partly because sophisticated technology integration requires support and particularly support in the form of coaching (ISTE, 2011) and partly because attention to professional learning focused on technology integration is lacking (Jacobs, Burns, & Yendol-Hoppey, 2014).

Through a collaboration between the University of South Florida (USF), Hillsborough County Public Schools, and Promethean Technology, known as the Promethean School Innovation Initiative, we support preservice teachers and in-service teachers to identify innovative uses of Promethean Technology to better PreK-5 student learning in urban settings. Our mission is achieved through a critical, formalized role called the Promethean Technology Coach (PTC).

The PTC is a necessary support structure to achieve sophisticated technology integration. Research shows that content-focused professional development can increase student achievement (Desimone, Smith, & Phillips, 2013). In the Promethean School Innovation Initiative , we place emphasis on technology as a content area to foster student learning and provide the necessary support to ensure the accomplishment of our mission.

Classroom of children seated on the floor paying attention to teacher and presentation on screen

The PTC has twenty hours each week dedicated to supporting preservice and in-service teachers from the Urban Teacher Residency Partnership Program (UTRPP) and the USF Preschool for Creative Learning. In total, there are currently seven preservice teachers and thirteen in-service teachers across four schools involved in the project. The PTC provides trainings with continued on the ground field support to combat technical issues, co-teach in the classroom, plan with the participants, and conduct inquiry, which is the systematic study of one's own practice (Dana & Yendol-Hoppey, 2014).

This kind of support means that participants are supported as they work to integrate ideas they learn from the trainings into their practice. So often teachers' primary critique of professional development is that there is a lack of sustained, ongoing support to assist them in the transfer of theory to practice (Potter & Rockinson-Szapkiw, 2012), but the PTC is a critical role to ensure that participants have this support. One of our participants, Leisha Peek, a current teacher and former graduate of UTRPP commented, "We use our ActivTable all the time for all the different subject areas."

By providing support, the PTC not only helps develop teachers' confidence with technology integration, but she also works to ensure this integration is sophisticated and aimed at PreK-5 student learning in our urban schools.

The PSI Initiative is made possible with the help of a donation by Promethean including a gift of service, software and research totaling over $500,000.


Dana, N. F., & Yendol-Hoppey, D. (2014). The reflective educator's guide to classroom research: Learning to teach and teaching to learn through practitioner inquiry (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Desimone, L., Smith, T. M., & Phillips, K. J. R. (2013). Linking student achievement growth to professional development participation and changes in instruction: A longitudinal study of elementary students and teachers in Title I schools. Teachers College Record, 115(5), 1-46.

Jacobs, J., Burns, R. W., & Yendol-Hoppey, D. (2014, April). What do we know about preservice teacher supervision since the release of the NCATE PDS Standards and the NCATE Blue Ribbon Report? A Meta-Analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association in Philadelphia, PA.

Potter, S. L., & Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J. (2012). Technology integration for instructional improvement: The impact of professional development. Performance Improvement, 51(2), 22-27.