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Analyzing teachers’ interactions and collaborations in STEM learning sessions

Date: May 27-31, 2017
Author(s): Gabriela Alonso-Yanez, Paulino Preciado Babb, and Barbara Brown
Presented at: CSSE 2017 conference, Toronto, ON

Social network analysis (SNA) is increasingly used to characterize collaboration and interactions among teachers involved in professional learning. We used SNA to describe the network structure of STEM professional learning sessions by considering the factors prompting interactions and collaborations, as well as by identifying the salient concepts members of these professional learning communities discussed. We found that teachers tend to interact with colleagues teaching the same grade-level and sought interactions with peers rather than with members of the instructional team. We also found their communication to be dominated by lesson planning and lesson design topics rather than by central STEM disciplinary topics. Our study has the potential to contribute to theory and practice related to STEM education and teacher professional learning.