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The Mātanga (Māori term for expert) project aimed to engage teachers with needs-based professional development with a particular focus on the teacher participants’ perspectives of their developing understandings. This article also explores the subsequent impact on teachers’ students as a result of their engagement with professional learning and development (PLD) in New Zealand. The PLD programme, funded by the Ministry of Education’s Network of Expertise Initiative and delivered by Technology Education New Zealand (TENZ), was designed to foster teachers’ engagement with the technology education curriculum. It also aimed to develop teachers’ specialist identity by focusing on notions of technological and technical thinking, by matching teachers with Mātanga experts.
Research findings indicate that teacher professional development was significant. Participants developed a deeper understanding of the benefits of authentic technological practice, as well as the technology curriculum. Some participants also obtained a deeper understanding of the nature of responsive pedagogies, and the role of reflection in professional practice. The programme motivated technology teachers, which translated into a more positive learning environment for their students.
Feedback was also sought on the Mātanga Project’s professional development model. Participants identified a number of key benefits gained through their participation. Specialist participants gained an appreciation for the theoretical and historical perspectives of technology, while generalist participants valued their increased curriculum knowledge. Participants found the year-long approach beneficial, particularly because they had access to experts in their area of technology. Participants also identified some limitations for the first iteration of the PLD and suggested improvements for the future.
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