Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Fostering school -wide computer integration through collaborative leadership and collaborative professional development
by Steinberg, Diane H., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2001, 301; 3044697
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigated the organizational conditions under which computers in technology-rich elementary schools were integrated into the curriculum, and it found that collaborative leadership and collaborative professional development among colleagues fostered school-wide integration of computers. This study also examined how students used their classroom computers, and it found that the majority of students in schools with the highest levels of computer integration actively learned with computers at least weekly by using them as multimedia tools to complete assignments connected to the core curriculum.

Case study methodology combined with the method of structured, focused comparison produced controlled comparisons of four purposefully selected elementary-school cases with common characteristics, including the same urban school district, equivalent ratios of approximately 3.5 students per computer, total classroom connectivity to the Internet, and predominantly impoverished, Latino students. Dissimilar initial conditions were also purposively sought by using dimensional and intensity sampling to select cases that varied in the extent of school-based professional development, local leadership, and computer integration.

Four main results emerged from qualitative and quantitative analyses of extensive data from six months of non-participant classroom observations, ten long interviews with teachers, numerous short interviews, and document collection. First, collaborative leadership and collaborative professional development among colleagues were each necessary and together sufficient organizational conditions for promoting extensive school-wide computer integration. Second, a comprehensive and operational definition of collaboration was developed: Frequent and sustained peer participation toward the collective goal of developing joint outputs, which were primarily grounded in the classroom practices of teaching and learning, characterized both collaborative leadership and collaborative professional development. Third, rich empirical data led to a precise, operational definition of computer integration, including a taxonomy of the progressive levels of “character” and “intensity” dimensions. Fourth, regression results indicated that district-level incentives, which provided many new computers to select teachers, significantly influenced classroom-level computer integration; yet those incentives were insufficient for fully explaining differences in the extent of school-wide computer integration between cases. These findings have implications for organizational theory, educational policy, and future research on bridging the gap between widely available computers in schools and their infrequent integration into classroom lessons.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fuller, Bruce
School: University of California, Berkeley
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 63/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational technology, Educational administration, Teacher education
Keywords: Collaborative, Computer integration, Leadership, Professional development
Publication Number: 3044697
ISBN: 978-0-493-58592-5
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