Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Robert Mayfield

Abstract

Students currently live surrounded by technology and the tools of the 21st Century, but as Prensky (2008) asserted, students feel like they "have to power down" when they go to school by working without many of the technology tools with which they are comfortable and by changing, even slowing, their ways of thinking (p. 42). One purpose of this study was to evaluate the technology tools used by students and the quality or types of usage by teachers and students as defined by the recommendations of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills in a rural school district. The study also examined the barriers and supports, as well as training, which impact teacher and student usage within curriculum.

A survey was completed by 217 administrators, teachers, and business persons. The data analysis from the completed surveys reveal that (a) when referring to computer usage, the impact of 21st Century Technology Tools training on the frequency of use in the classroom is clearly very substantial; (b) 21st Century Technology Tools have an elevated impact on the context for learning; (c) the district's technology plan, which included five Technology Dimensions, showed success at different levels while changes in technology availability and budget cuts hindered some successes; and (d) the top five responses from the teachers that responded listed access, utilization, or support staff as advantages in their use of technology. The top six responses from the teacher that responded listed the following as barriers to their use of technology: access, time, funding, or professional development. The qualitative data from focus groups confirmed the survey results. The combined data provided a framework to build professional development within the district.

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