Understanding school leaders' role in teachers' adoption of technology integrated classroom practices
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It is generally agreed upon by most educational technology researchers that the integration of technology promised during the 1990s by the proponents of technology in education has not materialized despite the fact that billions of dollars have been spent on technology in schools. The reasons are many and the answers are complex. To understand why technology integration has not succeeded, one must understand how the contextual factors, including educational laws and policies, educational change theories, diffusion of innovation theories, technology integration theories, and educational leadership practices impact how teachers perceive the use of technology within their classroom practices. This study looks at all five of these factors in an effort to understand how school leaders may impact teachers’ acceptance of technology integrated classroom practices. This study uses a case study methodology in an attempt to understand how school leaders in four middle schools in the same school district impacted either positively or negatively the teachers’ adoption of technology integrated classroom practices. Four methods are employed to gather data. First, a pre-survey was sent to every teacher in each of the four schools. Second, an in-depth interview was conducted with each principal of these four schools. Third, a focus group of technology teacher leaders was interviewed in each of these four schools. Fourth, a document review was conducted on selected documents to verify data collected from the other three methods. The data from each method at each school was cross-checked to develop an understanding about how each school uses technology within the building and about how the teachers are integrating technology within their classroom practices. When analyzing each school’s data it becomes obvious that the leader at one school is promoting the use of technology within her school in exemplary ways that causes the teachers to adopt technology integration into their classroom practices. When comparing this exemplary school’s data with the other schools’ data eight themes emerged as essential strategies that school leaders must adopt if they want their teachers to adopt technology integrated classroom practices. The eight strategies are: vision, modeling, expectations, encouragement, resources, hiring, professional learning, and capacity building.