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A Profile of Early 21st Century Teachers in Northwest Ohio: The Relationship between Teachers’ Technology Integration and Leadership Practices

Carrie Rathsack

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TITLE: A Profile of Early 21st Century Teachers in Northwest Ohio: The Relationship between Teachers’ Technology Integration and Leadership Practices
 
RESEARCHER: Carrie Rathsack
Department of Education
Bowling Green State University
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: May 2012

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers’ leadership practices and their classroom technology integration.

METHODOLOGY
Teachers from six northwest Ohio suburban school districts (N=1,655), serving about 23,000 students, were invited to participate in the online survey and 361 agreed (22% response rate) by completing the 21st Century Technology Integration and Teacher Leadership (21-TITL) inventory, made up primarily of the Overall Technology Integration Scale (OTIS) and a modified version of the Leadership Practices Inventory (Teacher Leadership Practices Inventory), which used a six-point Likert scale and added a sixth practice (“Refine the Craft”) which related to a teacher’s level of professional development and reflection. The majority of teacher participants (27%) consisted of elementary teachers, teaching three or more subjects, followed by English/language arts and special education (both at 14%). The highest percentage of respondents were from the most experienced group of teachers at 25+ years (24%), followed by teachers with 5-9 and 10-14 years (both at 20%). Most respondents (80%) were 30-59 years old, with at least a master’s degree, and 78 percent were female.

KEY FINDINGS
The most frequently engaged in leadership practice was Enable, followed by Model, Refine the Craft, Encourage, Inspire, and Challenge. Overall Technology Integration, along with Stage of Technology Adoption, and their Technology Efficacy, and Reflection were significantly correlated with the overall Teacher Leadership Practices Inventory measure. The strongest correlations were generally for Challenge, and weakest for Encourage. Regression analysis showed that Overall Technology Integration scores were best predicted by Challenge.

The responses from females on the T-LPI were significantly higher than those from their male counterparts. No differences were found in the leadership practices on the basis of educational level, years of teaching experience. Low and high T-LPI groups were different from one another on the basis of Technology Efficacy. Results indicated that teachers who attend more voluntary professional development activities report significantly greater frequency of leadership practices; this was also true for those teachers who are more reflective about their teaching, and those who hold more than one leadership position.

The author concludes:
This research study has uncovered several connections between teachers’ technology integration and teacher leadership practices. While most teacher preparation programs are committed to developing technology using teachers by implementing the TPACK framework, a key ingredient is missing in this framework—that of leadership. Because of these findings, the first recommendation from this research is the addition of leadership to the TPACK framework of teacher knowledge, creating either TPACK+L or the reorganized acronym, “CPTaLK” (Content, Pedagogy, Technology, and Leadership Knowledge). In this revised framework, content and pedagogy become the primary focus, but leadership also becomes a critical component of essential teaching practice … The leadership aspect comes into play outside of classroom teaching when working with other teachers, sharing best practices, observing, challenging, and encouraging others to try new ideas. But the fundamental relationship is that without the distributed expertise of teacher leadership in schools today, transformative change will not (cannot) occur” (p. 155).


 

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