Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Kathi Gibson


The purpose of this study was to examine how teacher instructional practices aligned with digital learning environments. The following four research questions guided this investigation: How do teachers demonstrate leadership in digital learning? How do teachers model and teach digital citizenship? How do teachers use digital content and resources for instruction? How do teachers use technology for data and assessment? The North Carolina (NC) Digital Learning Competencies for Classroom Teachers (NCDPI Digital Teaching and Learning Division, 2016) provided the theoretical framework for this study, and the research questions aligned with the four focus areas of these competencies. This mixed-methods study used data from a survey of 187 K–12 teachers in a district in southeastern NC as well as interview responses from two elementary, two middle, and two high school Teachers of the Year in this district. Additional data from the district’s AdvancED (2015) ELEOT ratings were reported in the results and analyzed in the findings. Survey data were analyzed for responses by grade level taught, years of teaching experience, and participants’ highest level of education.The findings from this study indicate teachers believed they were most capable of demonstrating competencies in digital citizenship, although interview data did not support translation into instructional practices. Teachers also indicated highest self-confidence in their abilities to demonstrate leadership in digital learning, and interview data indicated these skills were shown with instructional practices. Data showed elementary teachers need additional support in several areas of digital learning environments including demonstrating leadership outside one’s own classroom, immersing students in exploration of relevant issues and analysis of authentic problems through digital tools and resources, and evaluating and appropriately modifying the form and function of the physical learning environment to create a conductive digital learning environment. In these competencies, K–5 teachers rated lower means than those in Grades 6–8 and 9–12.

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