Date of Award

5-2016

Rights

© 2016 Yona Rose

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Steven Moskowitz

Second Advisor

Suzan Nelson

Third Advisor

Catherine Riva

Abstract

Technology integration reforms in education have increased in number and expectation throughout schools across the United States. Some instructors have experienced barriers with skill sets, attitudes, professional development opportunities, and collaboration time which have impacted their ability to model good practices. Pictures of qualified, confident teachers integrating technology into their classrooms with regularity and fidelity are unclear. Existing literature was reviewed regarding methods of increasing teacher comfort and knowledge related to technology integration so that the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication can be addressed in public schools. This research study explored what middle school teachers who integrate technology into their classrooms do to build their skills, maintain positive attitudes, and train collaboratively in order to be proficient models for their students. Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) was utilized to explore middle school teachers’ experiences and perceptions about technology integration and factors that impact their efforts to practice and improve their methods. Qualitative data was collected for this grounded theory study using an online questionnaire and a sixteen question, unstructured interview protocol in January of 2016. Eighteen middle school educators from three states, six school districts, and eight schools were contacted by email and interviewed over the telephone. The educators included different genders, grade levels and subject areas taught, age ranges, years of experience in teaching, and years teaching in middle schools. Data was analyzed using NVivo for Mac where frequency tests were used to develop emergent themes. The study found non-technical skills such as a willingness to take risks and self-motivation were equally important as technical skills like application knowledge. Participants indicated that supportive environments helped them develop and maintain positive attitudes about technology integration. Finally, the study suggests that informal collaboration time supports increased knowledge building and positive attitudes. These findings concluded that transformative leaders create opportunities to increase skills, build positive attitudes, and support one another while integrating technology. It was recommended that transformative professional development designers and leaders create supportive cultures for middle school educators to improve technology integration.

Comments

Ed.D. Dissertation