A Case Study of School Technology Support Networks

Hiltz, John R., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Dexter, Sara, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Esposito, Joseph, University Human Resources, University of Virginia
Meyer, III, J. Patrick, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Since the last decade of the 20 th Century, there has been an effort to integrate technology into classroom instruction. The success of this effort has been uneven, as teachers have resisted this change. There has been a great deal of recent research on the importance of teacher-to-teacher interactions and successful organizational change. This descriptive and exploratory case study was conducted to: (1) learn about the social networks teachers form in order to support technology integration in the classroom, (2) learn about how the instructional technology resource teacher (ITRT) is positioned in these social networks and to see if the instructional background of the ITRT affects that position, and (3) learn how technology leadership on the part of the school principal and the ITRT affects the structure of these networks. The study was conducted at two middle schools located near a large city along the East Coast of the United States. Qualitative and quantitative methodologies were used to conduct this study. The qualitative portion of the study consisted of interviews with the principal and the instructional technology resource teacher (ITRT) at each school. The quantitative portion of the study consisted of social network analyses (SNA) of the curricular support and technology support networks. The SNA software package of UCINET and NetDraw was used to analyze the data. Correlations were also examined between degree centrality and the teachers' technological, pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK). iii Both principals were strong supporters of classroom technology integration, but they used different methods to put into place their respective visions. These differences seem to have affected the structures of the technology support networks that formed in the schools, with a highly centralized network efficient for exchanging routine information in one school, while in the second school, the technology support network was less centralized and took on a structure more closely identified with innovation and organizational change. As a result of this study, a number of leadership traits were identified, which include developing a vision that is subject-specific and pedagogically focused as well as empowering the ITRT and others as technology leaders.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
technology, classroom instruction, teacher-to-teacher interactions, instruction technology resource teachers
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