An exploration of instructional technology integration culture and school effectiveness in West Texas school districts

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2016-08-16

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Abstract

This study sought to investigate the multiple variable relationships between/among school district instructional technology integration culture and school effectiveness in West Texas school districts. Of particular interest in this study was examining the ways in which district leaders’ technology integration fiscal decision-making practices contribute to the kinds and quality of district- and campus-level instructional technology integration cultures existing within individual school districts. The study employed a School District Instructional Technology Integration Culture and School Effectiveness (ITIC–SE) conceptual model as a literature-grounded means to investigate the “links” or “connections” between/among various school inputs, multiple school district structural elements and process dimensions, and recognized indices of school district effectiveness. A mixed methods phenomenological case study design was utilized to collect and analyze school district ITIC culture perceptual data from administrators and teachers in participating school districts along with analysis of campus-level STAAR scores and TAPR data. Follow-up interviews with administrators and teachers in selected “school districts of interest” identified from the total school district sample were then conducted to glean additional insights on context-specific technology integration conditions, issues, and challenges that can help explain educators’ perceptions regarding their district’s overall level of success in implementing and sustaining effective instructional technology integration initiatives in district schools and classrooms. The collective major findings and conclusions derived from the empirical results of this study strongly support the insight that the instructional technology integration culture (ITIC) construct as applied to schools and school districts can be best understood as a mediating variable that is conceptually linked to the greatest extent to the overall effectiveness of schools and school districts as organizations, rather than to what schools and districts produce in terms of educational outcomes (e.g., student academic performance/school achievement). The overall findings of this study contribute to the body of knowledge that may be tapped into by school district superintendents, technology support directors, campus principals and teachers, and school community stakeholders who want to implement effective instructional technology integration cultures in school districts to support enhanced, technology-integrated teaching, and learning effectiveness.

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Keywords

K-12 educational leadership, Superintendent, Principal, Ambidextrous leadership theory, Ethical decisions, Student achievement, Instructional technology integration culture, Rural schools

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