Middle School Principals’ Perceptions of Technology Integration at Select Urban School Campuses



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Background: Technology integration in schools has steadily increased in the United States. Shipments for classroom devices including tablets and laptops have grown from 3 million in 2010 to 14 million in 2017 according to Education Week (2017). With the influx of hardware for technology integration, technology spending also rose significantly. MarketWatch (2015) predicted a 17% growth with an estimated $252 billion dollars spent annually by 2020. Principals are the primary implementers of technology integration in schools with access to every content area stakeholder on campus. Once a district or campus commits to increasing technology integration, the principals are the primary influence for integration strategies. Teaching on a campus that transitioned to a 1:1 student to computer ratio, I realized the challenges and opportunities of technology integration in the instructional setting. There are numerous sections to technology integration including hardware (computers, laptops, tablets, phones etc.), software (applications, programs, infrastructure (wireless access points, computer labs), and even the instructional strategies themselves (Blended Learning, Personalized Learning). The variations in approaches to technology integration create almost infinite possibilities that can overwhelm not only teachers, but entire campuses. Understanding the abilities of the faculty and needs of the campus directly improves the ability to focus time, effort, and money on the appropriate resources and training. Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative project was to determine the perception of principals regarding technology integration in an urban middle school campus. The research question driving this project was: What are principals' perceptions of technology integration in an instructional setting of an urban middle school? This case study analyzed qualitative data from interviews and mini-focus groups, to collect information on principals' perceptions of technology integration practices. In understanding how principals perceive technology integration, effective methods of creating needs assessments and professional development can be implemented in districts and on campuses. Methods: This research was conducted utilizing a collective case study design to provide an in-depth analysis of the participants’ perceptions of technology integration, based on their experiences. Purposive sampling was used to identify four principals who were recruited based on holding a current Texas K-12 principal certification and position within an urban middle school in Houston. The principals represent leadership from four schools in three different districts in Houston. The data were collected through individual interviews followed by mini-focus group interviews. Individual interview data were analyzed by inductive coding and the emerging themes were utilized to develop and refine questions for the subsequent mini-focus group interviews. Data analysis for mini-focus group interviews was conducted using the constant comparative method from which themes were derived. Results: The results from the study indicated three major themes related to principals’ perceptions: (a) principals perceive technology as a benefit to their campus; (b) There was no consensus on effective or ineffective technology integration strategies; (c) principals all had limits in effective and focused staff training and expectations; thus, (d) integration of technology was uneven by teachers across their campuses. There were not set standards for expectations or implementation of technology for staff or students. Conclusion: The participants believed technology could be an effective tool for students in the classroom. In the three districts, there were no specific standards on how to implement technology and expectations for technology integration. The training was available for staff, but only one district had a specific program that all staff were required to take. Districts and campuses should have specific plans and focused training in place for students and staff. For staff, their professional development should be focused on techniques to improve how they implement technology. There were established guidelines from TEA on teacher requirements, and in ISTE for student, staff, and administrator guidelines to build from. Future research should focus on a larger participant pool within a singular district, to understand the overall perception of faculty in the district and build a focused plan addressing district needs.



Technology, Education, Middle schools