AN ANALYSIS OF PRINCIPALS’ PERCEPTIONS OF TECHNOLOGY’S INFLUENCE IN TODAY’S SCHOOLS
In this era of accountability created by federally mandated initiatives, school leaders are still searching for ways to improve schools. Principals must learn to manage schools efficiently while moving classrooms out of the industrial age school model and into a 21st century, technology rich learning environment that enhances student achievement. The purpose of this study was to understand the importance of technology in today’s schools and its impact on principals, counselors, teachers, and students. The study used archival data from a larger survey and focused on understanding principal perceptions of how technology influences their daily roles as school leaders. The 310 principals originally interviewed were from the larger Gulf Coast metropolitan area and were actively serving as the principal of a school at the time they were surveyed. A combination of traditional survey and cognitive interviewing techniques were used to address the questions related to principals’ perceptions regarding the influence of technology on their campuses. Principals were asked to describe the extent technology had made a difference at their school; how it had influenced teachers, counselors, and students; as well as how it had influenced their role as a principal? Four major themes emerged and were identified and given an operational definition of Positive Influence, Moderate Influence, No Influence, and Negative Influence to describe the impact technology had on the different principal’s campuses. The results of the analysis indicated that 62.3% of the principals self-reported that technology had made a positive impact on their roles as principals; in their schools; as well as making a positive impact on teachers, counselors, and students. Of the 35.7% of principals who believed technology had been a negative impact on their campuses, over half of them reported that technology had a negative influence on their role as a principal. If technology is to play a role in developing a project-based, real-world, problem-solving curriculum that equates to student engagement and student achievement in the classroom; these findings indicate that the principal’s perception of technology’s influence plays a key role in that integration occurring at the campus level.