Page 37 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

Journal of K-12 Educational Research 35 Mohd & Shahbodin, 2021; Sawyer 2017; Stelitano et al., 2020). Their attitude towards easy accessibility impacts their frequency of high-level technology usage in the classroom. Therefore, teachers’ beliefs should always be at the forefront when developing technology integration programs (Sawyer, 2017). The current study found that teachers’ perceptions of technology, coupled with their attitudes and beliefs about technology, impacted their definition of high-level usage and when and how they chose to integrate technology. Findings from the current study implied that first and second-order barriers influenced teachers’ perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs toward technology. This finding supports prior research that has found teachers’ perceptions impact their levels of technology integration. Digital Leadership Research suggests that effective digital leadership is the number one factor for high-level technology integration in teacher classrooms (Gibson, 2001; Seay, 2004). Effective technology integration is facilitated by leaders tapping into the power of technology and having expectations for high-quality core instruction that integrates digital literacy within the curriculum (Herseim, 2019). During the current study, participants communicated that support and a safe environment were essential from campus leaders. Teachers did not care if leaders were fluent with technology. Instead, they cared more about leaders with growth mindsets who did not mind working alongside them in their efforts to integrate technology in the classroom. Findings from the current study did not support past or current research. This variance in findings could be due to teachers’ perceived role of campus leadership. If teachers perceive leaders are only responsible for daily operations as managers rather than leaders of teaching and learning, they cannot conceptualize qualities of effective digital leadership. Professional Learning Leaders can effectively meet the needs of teachers by creating prescriptive professional learning that will aid in improving teachers’ level of technology integration (Welsh et al., 2011). On the contrary, the research by Gorder (2008) shows that even after teachers attended advanced technology professional learning, they still reported low-level usage. Participants did not express professional learning as a barrier, although minimal technology professional learning was provided for teachers in the current district of study. Teachers did not conclude that improved professional learning opportunities were necessary until after their observed levels of integration were revealed alongside their perceived level of integration in the follow-up interview. Recommendations for Educators The second digital divide can be mitigated by increased digital wisdom amongst teachers. It is imperative that educators seek to understand digital natives to ensure they are tailoring lessons to meet their learning styles and educational needs. Educators, especially digital immigrants, must be willing and open to learning new technologies that might not have existed when they were in school. Educational leadership programs must redesign their curriculum to include objectives surrounding effective technology integration to create digital leaders. Improving digital equity in schools and society begins with educators having the knowledge and skills necessary to support and facilitate digital learning environments. Recommendations for Campus and District Leadership Although technology efforts are costly, leadership must value the importance of technology enough to allocate budget funds to improve infrastructure, update devices, projectors, and other technology tools at every school to improve digital equity for all students. Developing a robust technology plan that first mitigates infrastructure and access is the key component to close the second digital divide. The detailed technology plan, aligned to campus and district goals, should be created around teacher’s attitudes and beliefs to ensure there are measurable actions to increase their technology self-efficacy. Campus and district leaders must seek opportunities to improve their technology self-efficacy to effectively evaluate and provide feedback for teacher’s technology integration efforts, provide prescriptive professional learning, and create a culture and climate conducive for growing digital wisdom.