Capstone/Dissertation Title

Understanding the role of the K-12 school district superintendent in facilitating technological change





Degree Name



The purpose of the study was to describe the role of K-12 public school district superintendents in technology-based decisions from the lens of building and district leaders, and district superintendents. The focused study was also designed to determine if district superintendents use technology standards and recommendations from national professional development organizations to guide technology planning and policy implementation. A mixed method approach utilizing a quantitative online survey of key informants in school districts, and qualitative elite interviews with school district superintendents in a suburban metropolitan area of a Midwestern state was used. Twenty-six building and district leaders were surveyed using a fixed format online survey, and 6 superintendents were interviewed using a fixed format, open-response interview. The topics of the survey and interview questions concentrated on technology-focused leadership, professional development, support and standards. The focused survey and interview results provided a rich description of instructional technology policies, planning and classroom use in districts. Many common practices across districts emerged, but no two districts followed all of the same technology-related policies and procedures. Superintendents encouraged or required teachers to use instructional technology, and felt that in most cases technology use should be embedded in instruction. Professional development, training and support were identified as important components of technology planning. Technology steering committees were present in all districts, with varied responsibilities and representation. Superintendents described how they used technology standards for guidance, but none of the districts had adopted specific standards. The findings of this study may help superintendents and their districts with an analysis of their district operations to develop systematic plans to maximize the impact of technology in schools to increase student achievement, and prepare all students for their futures.

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