Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Phenomenological Study of Professional Development in the Digital Age: Elementary Principals' Lived Experiences
by Gustafson, Brad R., Ed.D., Bethel University, 2014, 169; 3648959
Abstract (Summary)

Principals set the tone and vision for their schools. A principal's ability to lead responsive professional development will be paramount to achieve a 21st century learning environment. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of elementary principals across the United States. Interviews were conducted utilizing a videoconferencing tool called Google Hangouts and four semi-structured questions were asked to each of the eight participants. A form of purposive sampling was utilized, and the initial participants recommended other elementary principals in accordance with snowball sampling methods. Two essential themes emerged. The participants (a) invested in digital connections as a powerful tool to enhance leadership. Their connectedness was a universal leadership characteristic. The second essential theme was participants' experience with (b) Twitter as a powerful tool for professional learning, and as a catalyst for transforming professional development. The essence of the elementary school principalship in a digitally connected age was marked by connectivity to enhance leadership practices and the utilization of Twitter as a means of transforming professional development. It is recommended that a study of the relationship between early adoption of technology and professional development be conducted. Another recommendation would be to conduct a mixed-methods study comprised of connected educators and those educators that have not yet invested in digital connections.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Reimer, Tracy
Commitee: Burgin-Hartshorn, Joni, Ridlehoover, Jeffrey P.
School: Bethel University
Department: Leadership in K-12 Administration
School Location: United States -- Arkansas
Source: DAI-A 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, Educational technology
Keywords: Connected educator, Digital age, Elementary principal, Google Hangouts, Professional development, Twitter
Publication Number: 3648959
ISBN: 978-1-321-52913-5
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