Linked leadership: The role of technology in gifted education coordinators' approaches to informed decision making
Eric Calvert, Bowling Green State University, United States
Bowling Green State University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to explore the role of technology in the professional leadership practice of gifted education coordinators. An adapted version of the Teacher Technology Integration Scale (TTIS) was administered to 36 gifted coordinators recruited at meetings of regional gifted coordinator groups affiliated with the state professional and advocacy organization for gifted education. The adapted TTIS gathered self-report data on gifted coordinators’ perceived technology skills, attitudes and beliefs toward technology, and frequency of using various technology tools in their professional roles through 49 rating scale items. Short answer items were added to the original instrument to gather demographic data and information regarding how participants used technology to perform specific common job duties of gifted coordinators.
Five gifted coordinators also participated in semi-structured interviews in which they were asked to describe the sources of information and expertise they accessed to assist them in making a recent high-stakes decision or recommendation about a gifted education program they administered and what, if any, role technology played in that process. Additional interview questions focused on the role of technology in participants’ informal learning and communication and collaboration with colleagues and peers. As Wenger and Lave’s research on communities of practice provided a theoretical framework for the study, interview participants were also asked to reflect on whether or not they felt they were members of “communities of practice” related to gifted education, and, if so, how they used technology in their interactions with those communities.
Leadership both within the gifted coordinators’ school districts and regional gifted education organizations were found to influence participants’ use of technology in informal learning and leadership. Although support for the idea that technology can be a powerful tool for professional learning was nearly universal, gifted coordinators who believed there was a vision for the use of technology in education in their school district and who perceived high levels of support for technology integration also expressed higher levels of technology-self efficacy and more extensive use of technology. Additionally, gifted coordinators who gave high ratings to their own technology skills also reported frequent use of online resources to support their informal learning and professional practice. Uneven technology skills among peers and a lack of leadership for embracing online tools were cited as barriers to making greater use of Web as a platform for professional collaboration. The researcher provides further discussion and recommendations for learning designers and school and professional association leaders for leveraging technology to better support communities of practice to enhance gifted coordinators’professional learning and capacities for leadership.
Calvert, E. Linked leadership: The role of technology in gifted education coordinators' approaches to informed decision making. Ph.D. thesis, Bowling Green State University.
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