Editor's Note: Many thanks to the authors for submitting this manuscript in HTML.

Enhancing Motivation and Teaching Efficacy
Through Web Page Publishing


Alice A. Christie, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, alice.christie@asu.edu

Peter Rillero, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, rillero@asu.edu

JoAnn V. Cleland, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, jo.cleland@asu.edu

Keith A. Wetzel, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, keith.wetzel@asu.edu

Ron Zambo, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, ron.zambo@asu.edu

Ray R. Buss, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, ray.buss@asu.edu


The value of knowledge increases as it is shared.
Native American Saying



This article highlights two major benefits of guiding teachers through a collaborative process for developing instructional units and informing them in advance that their work will be published on the Internet. Through a nationally recognized project, in-service and pre-service teachers not only designed mathematics and science units for their own use, but also for dissemination through the Web. Participants indicated that knowing their work would be published motivated them to produce high-quality work. They also acknowledged that the collaborative process they used to develop these curricular units increased their self-efficacy for teaching mathematics and science.

 Introduction | Theoretical Grounding | Method | Results and Discussion | Conclusions and Implications | References


The World Wide Web is a powerful tool for educators. Teachers use it to find teaching ideas as well as curricular information. Their students access web pages for a variety of learning experiences. An emerging use of the web is the publication of teacher and student work. This web-based publishing has the potential to increase teacher motivation in developing teaching materials, to promote reflection, and to enhance teacher development.

Selfe (1990) maintains that it is time for educators to re-examine the "theoretical and pedagogical premises upon which they base their classes, their research, and their curricula (p. 190)." Now that the first wave of excitement about the new technology has subsided, Selfe asserts that educators must conduct research that will help teachers move away from the "atheoretical, untested, unexamined" approaches currently in use. Selfe suggests that teachers must be more theoretically informed as they integrate computers into the school curriculum. In the spirit of Selfe, this project:

  • emphasized science and mathematics content, rather than technology;
  • helped teachers re-examine their beliefs about teaching and learning; and
  • modeled theoretically informed and pedagogically sound uses of technology.


In Project Explorer, we initiated a professional development workshop that featured the creation of science and mathematics materials that would be published on the web. In this article, we report on the motivational aspects of web publication. The project used state Eisenhower funds for a summer workshop where in-service teachers learned and worked with their pre-service interns. The following six goals guided the implementation of this project.

We expected participants to:

  • gain confidence in, as well as pedagogical and content knowledge for, science and mathematics instruction;
  • use pedagogically sound models written by university faculty and subject-area experts as a basis for creating their own curricular materials;
  • learn from each other through collaboration;
  • collaboratively explore learning strategies and create curricular materials;
  • receive feedback on the implementation of newly learned instructional strategies and curricular materials; and
  • publish curricular materials on the Internet.

This article focuses on the sixth goal of the project: the publication of pre-service and in-service teachers' curricular materials on the Internet, and how this goal helped accomplish the first five goals. Specifically, our research questions were:

  • Does knowing that one's science and mathematics units will be published on the Internet enhance motivation to produce quality curricular units?
  • Does a program featuring opportunities for collaboration and the promise of web-based publishing increase teachers' self-efficacy in teaching science and mathematics?

Theoretical Grounding

This article is theoretically grounded in two major areas of research: the extensive writing process research and the research on self-efficacy and motivation. With respect to the writing process, Graves (1994, p. 146) suggests that writing is a social act that is meant to be shared with others when he states "writers write for audiences." Knowing one’s audience enhances motivation and the quality of writing. Graves also recommends that we extend the audience for writing beyond the immediate peer group in order to encourage ownership and pride in writing. Calkins (1994) suggests that we should celebrate publishing. Publishing work on the Internet provides the potential to motivate the writers, extend the audience, and celebrate writers' publications.

Graves (1994) also stresses that quality written work is the result of time-consuming revisions that are enabled by feedback from peers. Calkins (1994) suggests the need to create workshop environments with substantial amounts of time allocated for writing and revising. She states that "if students are going to let their ideas grow, if they are going to draft and revise, sharing their texts with one another as they write, they need the luxury of time" (p. 186). Wetzel (1992) states that we need to create a climate conducive to writing and revising and we need to structure time for social dialogue to enable the revision process.

With respect to self-efficacy, Bandura (1993, 1997) and Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk-Hoy, and Hoy, (1998) define self-efficacy as the belief that one is capable of organizing and executing a particular task given a specific context. As such, self-efficacy is closely linked to expectations about success. Self-efficacy beliefs help one overcome obstacles, rebound from temporary setbacks, and control learning events. The implication for professional developers is that by furnishing teachers appropriate content and instructional techniques, teachers will develop a stronger sense of efficacy for teaching science and mathematics.

Bandura (1997) proposed four sources of self-efficacy beliefs: mastery experiences, physiological and emotional states, vicarious experiences, and social persuasion. In this project we focused on two of these contributors to self- efficacy: mastery experiences and social persuasion. The mastery experiences provided were science and mathematics specific, as advocated by Koul and Rubba (1999). Social persuasion was provided through extensive feedback from peers and workshop leaders.


Participants and Project Description

Thirty-two pre-service and in-service elementary school teachers participated in this professional development project seven hours per day for two weeks during the summer. Six university faculty members, in conjunction with subject-area specialists, planned and implemented this project that took place at a local elementary school. Participants were organized into grade-level teams consisting of both pre-service and in-service teachers. A constructivist stance encouraging active participation and personal knowledge generation guided the project. A more detailed description of the project is provided in our Project Explorer Overview..

The ten-day project was organized into five two-day cycles:

  • Day One focused on science and mathematics concept development, communication about these concepts among team members, and reflection to analyze and synthesize learning. Day One provided opportunities for mastery experiences for participants.
  • Day Two focused on expanding the concepts learned or developed during Day One by allowing participants to create curricular materials for their students. Extensive opportunities for peer review and feedback provided opportunities for social persuasion.

Day One featured active learning of science and mathematics concepts in student-centered stations. Project leaders modeled effective ways to improve science and mathematics learning. We also provided resources intended for the participants' consideration and participants' modification to meet the specific content and learning needs of their students. Faculty-developed curricular materials used in the learning stations were placed on the Project Explorer web site as well as distributed in paper format to participants.

Day Two featured sheltered work time, which promoted opportunities for participants to:

  • reflect on and discuss Day One processes and concepts;
  • develop or adapt curricular materials for their particular content area and grade level;
  • review and critique each others' efforts; and
  • revise and complete final drafts of curricular materials that were subsequently published on the Internet.


From the onset of the project, participants knew that the curricular materials that they developed during each Day Two cycles would be placed on the Project Explorer web site adjacent to the curricular materials developed by the university faculty. They also knew to link their resources to national and state standards in science and mathematics. Resources developed by participants are available on seeds, flight, garbology, weather, and shapes. Faculty-developed resources on seeds, flight, garbology, weather, and shapes are on neighboring pages.

Workshop participants formed a community of learners during the two-week summer workshops that has continued beyond the project's original time frame. The project provided opportunities for teachers to discuss, plan and implement curriculum with their peers. Participants interacted with and supported each other in several ways. First, pre-service students and their K-6 mentor teachers worked together to adapt workshop experiences for their grade level. They became comfortable with each other as they planned together and implemented the curriculum with children. Second, the pre-service/mentor teacher pairs worked with other grade level pairs as they completed the science and mathematics activities provided. Following the learning experiences designed for participants, they met in grade level groups, presented their curriculum plans and traded ideas. Third, formally and informally, grade level teams conferred across grade levels to align with district curriculum and state standards and to determine the activities and experiences that would be accomplished at each grade level. Fourth, the school principal participated in the daily activities and the discussions. During the daily group debriefing time, the principal addressed teacher concerns about the curriculum materials, standards and assessment. Fifth, the teachers shared their curriculum units with each other and received feedback. Finally, during the school year, participants met to share their students' work and discuss successes and obstacles. Project Explorer provided many opportunities for on-going social support.


Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used. Teachers' self-efficacy for teaching science was measured through the Science Teaching Efficacy Beliefs Instrument (STEBI) developed by Enoch and Riggs (1990). This highly reliable instrument contains variables of personal efficacy (PE) and outcome expectancy (OE). PE items assess teachers' perceptions of their ability to teach science. OE items measure teachers' perceptions that teacher actions will translate into student learning. A second form of the instrument, which altered the STEBI by substituting "mathematics" for "science", was developed and used to collect data on teachers' efficacy for teaching mathematics and is referred to as MTEBI.

A pretest-posttest methodology was used to collect data on personal efficacy and outcome expectancy in science and in mathematics. Changes in the personal efficacy and outcome expectancy variables were analyzed through the use of paired t-tests.

In terms of qualitative data collection and analysis, teacher self-efficacy and beliefs about web publishing were explored through open-ended questionnaires at the conclusion of the project, including questions such as "How did knowing your curricular materials would be published on the Internet affect your participation in Project Explorer?" Responses to these questions were transcribed into HyperQual2®. Responses to each question were analyzed for confirming and disconfirming evidence to common themes relating to our research questions. Our assertions and conclusions were drawn from both our qualitative and quantitative data analyses.

Results and Discussion

Self-Efficacy in Teaching

Of all the goals of Project Explorer, the first goal was the most important: to build confidence in, as well as pedagogical abilities and content knowledge for, science and mathematics teaching. The results of paired t-tests analyses of pre- and post-test scores on the STEBI and MTEBI instruments indicated significant positive changes in participants' perceptions of:

  • their ability to deliver effective science instruction (PE), p = .001;
  • their ability to deliver effective mathematics instruction (PE), p = .008;
  • the impact of effective science teaching in promoting learning (OE), p = .037;
  • the impact of effective mathematics teaching in promoting learning (OE), p = .001.

These results suggest that the teachers became more confident in their abilities to teach science and mathematics. Further, they became more optimistic that good teaching in these subjects can make a difference in improving student learning.

Motivation for Web-Based Publishing

An analysis of the questionnaire data revealed that 89% of the participants felt that knowing their work would appear on the Internet motivated them to produce quality work. Additionally, we found that our participants did, indeed, produce exceptional quality work, and they took pride in their written products. Outside evidence confirms the quality of the project products. The Project Explorer Web Site that featured participants' work was selected as an "Exemplary Resource" for science and mathematics learning (Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, 2000). Through writing and publishing on the web, teachers shared ideas and resources with the general community of educators. Listed below are representative comments made by project participants about posting and viewing their work on the Internet:

  • I feel great! It's neat to see something I created and everyone else will see it, too!
  • I wanted my work to be high quality.
  • I felt proud and encouraged!

In the past several years, the researchers have led several projects focusing on science and mathematics staff development. The first key difference between Project Explorer and previous projects was the promise of publishing teaching resources on the Internet. This promise provided the most powerful motivational aspects of Project Explorer. Project SIMULATE (Cleland, Rillero, Zambo, Wetzel, & Buss, 1996), an earlier staff development program at the same elementary school, attempted to prepare teachers to incorporate technology into their instruction. Much of the staff development centered on using multimedia tools and creating interdisciplinary units for use in their classrooms. In Project SIMULATE, however, there was no web publication of the participant-produced materials; we simply gathered teacher-produced materials at the end for final review. However, in Project Explorer we offered a more structured pattern with spaced opportunities for participants to develop curricular materials to place on the web. We hypothesized that asking participants to prepare materials for a wider audience through publication on a web site would motivate them to generate products of a higher level both in quantity and quality. We felt participants were more motivated and produced better quality work in Project Explorer than in Project SIMULATE. This difference, we believe, is attributable to the promise of publication of their units on the Internet.

From the outset, everyone knew that Project Explorer materials were not simply for teachers' individual use, but would be made public. Knowing that their materials would be published on the Internet, participants actively engaged in the writing process, revising and editing their own materials based on reflection and feedback from their peers. As they reflected on their involvement in Project Explorer, in-service and pre-service teachers alike indicated that they were proud to have their products displayed on the Internet. This peer-review process greatly improved the quality of the web publications and may have contributed to the changes in efficacy for teaching science and mathematics.

Conclusions and Implications

This study suggests that the promise of web publishing is an effective tool for promoting the development of science and mathematics teaching competencies. When participants knew from the outset that their work would be published on the web, it increased their sense of ownership and motivation to generate quality products. We have learned that allowing teachers to publish their work is as important as allowing children to publish their work. Both types of publication provide the context for authentic learning.

Critical to the outcome of the project were the collaborative efforts, or networks, established among the participants. Networks are significant in establishing and providing enduring educational reform "and are particularly well suited to this era of new technology and rapid change" (Lieberman, 2000, p. 221). Networking to support teachers' science and mathematics instruction was built into the project at several levels.

The collaboration that occurred among teachers and between teachers and university staff was critical in establishing a network that served as the foundation for the success of the project. Providing opportunities for peers to review and critique each other's efforts during the sheltered work time led to collaboration among peers as well as the reduction in the sense of isolation from peers. Bringing teachers together to learn from each other proved to be a powerful process and allowed for the development of a second network.

The requirement of web publishing served as a catalyst for the development of an additional network level, which provided teachers opportunities to connect with others through the web. Participants were able to gather information from others and use it as they developed their instructional materials. Through such processes, they became part of a larger web-based learning community. Although the concept of learning communities exists in the extant literature, the liberating process that occurs in classroom teachers is quite compelling and encourages teachers to look at themselves in new ways. Because their efforts would be made available to others through web publication, the establishment of this level of the network provided teachers with new insights about themselves as teachers and as educational leaders. These insights are clearly demonstrated in the ways that teachers described their renewed sense of accomplishment and pride.

We conclude that knowing one's science and mathematics units will be published on the Internet enhances motivation to produce quality curricular units. Second, creating science and mathematics units that will be published on the Internet may contribute to increases in teachers' self-efficacy in teaching science and mathematics. The professional development process is enhanced when teachers are given numerous opportunities for mastery experiences and networking opportunities that foster social persuasion during the curriculum development process.



Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W. H. Freeman. 

Bandura, A. (1993). Perceived self-efficacy in cognitive development and functioning. Educational Psychologist, 28(2), 117-148.

Calkins, L.M. (1994). The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Cleland, J.; Rillero, P.; Zambo, R.; Wetzel, K.; & Buss, R. (1996). Project SIMULATE: Teaching pre-service and in-service teachers the use of computer simulations. Technology and Teacher Education Annual, 1996. Proceedings of SITE 96 - Seventh International Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education.

Eisenhower National Clearinghouse, (2000). "Mathematics and science in the real world," ENC focus, 7, (3), p. 56.

Enochs, L., & Riggs, I. (1990). Further development of an elementary science teaching efficacy belief instrument: A pre-service elementary scale. School Science and Mathematics, 90, 694-706.

Graves, D.H. (1994) A fresh look at writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

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Selfe, C. L. (1990). English teachers and the humanization of computers: Networking communities of readers and writers. In G. E. Hawisher & A. O. Soter (Eds.), On literacy and its teaching (pp. 175-190). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk-Hoy, A., & Hoy, W. K. (1998). Teacher efficacy: Its meaning and measure. Review of Educational Research, 68, 202-248.

Wetzel, K. (1992). Computers and the writing process. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education.


This project was supported in part by a grant from the Arizona Board of Regents Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Education Program. The conclusions are those of the authors, and no endorsement by the Arizona Board of Regents should be inferred.

About the authors. . .

Alice A. Christie currently serves as Associate Professor of Technology and Education at Arizona State University West. Prior to this assignment, she taught in K-12 schools for twenty-five years. She was recently named ASU West Professor of the Year and Arizona Teacher of the Year for Technology Integration. Her well-known educational web site (http://www.west.asu.edu/achristie) averages 25,000 visitors per month. The Chronicle of Higher Education cited it as one of the best educational portals on the web. Contact her by calling 602-543-6338 or emailing her at alice.christie@asu.edu.

Peter Rillero is an associate professor of science education. His scholarship interests include learning using technology, hands-on learning, classroom material development, and parental involvement in science education. He is currently on sabbatical in the Philippines working on a systemic reform of science education project.

Jo Cleland is Associate Professor of Reading Education at Arizona State University West. Prior to joining the university faculty, she worked in public schools for 20 years; and she continues to collaborate with classroom teachers through on-site instruction and staff development. Her research interests center on effective implementation of integrative curriculum.

Ron Zambo, is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education in the College of Education at Arizona State University West. His experience as an elementary school teacher and as a high school mathematics teacher provide him with the background to offer inservice and preservice teachers realistic perspectives of effective mathematics instruction. Dr. Zambo's current research interests are the effective professional development of teachers, changes in teachers' thinking about instruction brought about by the integration of technology, and content integration-especially mathematics and the language arts.

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