Technology Leadership: How Principals, Technology Coordinators, and Technology Interact in K-12 Schools

Langran, Elizabeth, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bull, Glen, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Deutsch, Nancy, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Dexter, Sara, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Garofalo, Joe, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

One school division attempted to build technology leadership among principals and technology coordinators in seven schools; this population served as the subjects of this study. The school division's attempt to build technology leadership did not achieve its original project goals, but the participants reported some positive experiences. Results of this study indicated that technology coordinators in this school division have roles that vary greatly across schools. They have an ambiguous role that is problematic when coworkers do not understand the technology coordinator position. Technology coordinators are neither administrators nor classroom teachers, but draw upon experience as former classroom teachers as well as upon a broad skillset for the multiple dimensions of their position. With their access to teachers, principals, and school division administrators, technology coordinators have the potential to act as global change agents and leaders in the schools and help interpret a school division's vision to fit in with the local culture of their school. The principal's role in technology decisions is essential in creating schools that effectively integrate technology. By evaluating teachers' use of technology in the classroom and modeling, these principals created an expectation for iii technology integration in the classroom. Technology decisions in the schools participating in this study were generally initiated from the top, and were often inspired by principals sharing ideas with other principals. Principals and CTIPs participating in this study had varied opinions regarding technology planning. CTIPs and principals who meet frequently are more likely to have similar perceptions of technology planning and policies in place at their school than those who meet infrequently. By building leadership in others, principals and technology coordinators contributed to a distributed leadership model to sustain change despite shifting personnel. Trust emerged as important in increasing risk-taking and the likelihood of innovation implementation while reducing the sense of overload. Technology leadership was defined by the study's participants as encompassing the following characteristics: technology leaders 1) relate and communicate; 2) support and enable teachers to use technology; 3) build leadership in others; and 4) have a clear vision regarding ways in which technology can support learning.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
schools, technology, leadership, coordinators
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