In the second half of the August I defended my PhD dissertation “Learning and Knowledge Building for Teachers’ Professional Development in an Extended Professional Community”. My thesis can be found here. Thesis was supervised by Dr. Kai Pata from Tallinn University. Dr. Äli Leijen from Tartu University and Dr. Merja Bauters from Aalto University were my opponents and Dr. Anoush Margaryan from Glasgow Caledonian University was pre-reviewer. Thank you for all.
My thesis proposes learning and knowledge building practices for teachers in a socio-technical system. Theoretically I relied on the concepts of self-directed learning and organizational learning. I also used the Nonaka’s and Takeuchi’s knowledge conversion SECI model for manipulating and managing the practices in individual and organizational level. The theoretical foundations of socio-technical systems and e-portfolio was second building block of the theoretical part. Thirdly the implementation aspects of the knowledge development tools in organization were relied on. Design-based research that involved the stakeholders from schools, universities and teachers’ association was the methodological grounding of my thesis.
As a result I provide the gaps in current teachers professional development in terms of self-directed learning and collaborative knowledge building in the community. Next I propose the technical scenarios that can be followed when implementing such practices for teacher education. Thirdly the implementation model for the extended professional community is proposed and finally the validated learning and knowledge practices are proposed with the identified scaffolding aspects.
In general I had quite quick process of PhD studies, only four years. I think I had several enablers that supported me. Firstly the project IntelLEO, which gave me the context, timeline, theoretical support, but also the freedom to focus on my own research. Secondly my dear supervisor who was by my side for all those years and provided me the support that can’t be expressed. Thirdly my kids. If I had not been on my maturity leave, but worked with full position, this would have been much longer process. Doing my research while kids had napping time was much more comfortable way for finishing PhD.
After two weeks I am almost able to say that my defense was quite nice. There are some things that still bother me, but I have to live with it now. I did not manage to answer all the questions and I was too emotional during my last words, but what can I do – that’s me.
Anyway – done! I am open to new challenges!