Technology integration and the school change process
Lauren McNamara, Simon Fraser University , Canada
Simon Fraser University . Awarded
There are often many elusive psychological and sociocultural influences that affect the implementation of new initiatives in a school improvement process. The purpose of my dissertation work is to use technology integration as a catalyst to apply cross-disciplinary methods and viewpoints.
I present a qualitative, interpretive study that is designed to explore how one school district, Torro North School District (pseudonym), has chosen to invest energy and resources in making technologies an important part of their schools. I present a review of research on technology development in schools, as well as a review of research on school change. I then provide a review of three theoretical perspectives that have shaped various strands of educational research—social cognitive theory, sociocultural theory, and symbolic interactionism—to provide multiple lenses to view the role of technology in the school improvements efforts of Torro North. I then provide a synthesis of all of the reviews that acts as my conceptual framework for analyzing my data.
My goal was to capture the experiences of the teachers, administrators, and other school professionals in the Torro North School District. Therefore, semi-structured, in-depth interviews served as the primary source of data. Other sources of data, such as demographic information, curricular guides, learning goals, classroom district websites, and classroom observations, were collected to create a story of technology integration at Torro North. This story highlights aspects of the district that have been essential in the effective integration of technology, and includes a portrayal of the leadership, a description of supports for teachers, and a consideration of the often elusive psychological and sociocultural influences that affect teachers, leaders, and administrators as they attempt to facilitate change.
Descriptions and analyses of the data are explained from a primarily psychological perspective, although I do not ascribe analytic primacy to either individuals or society. I complement the psychological explanations with sociocultural explanations in order to highlight the dynamic relations among individual, institutional, and cultural influences that shape the process of change in Torro North. I contend that the entire school district organization, from the political infrastructure to the routine ways of doing, thinking, and interacting in the schools and district, dynamically shapes the effort that teachers put towards effectively utilizing technology-supported learning activities.
McNamara, L. Technology integration and the school change process. Ph.D. thesis, Simon Fraser University.
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