Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education and Human Development

Committee Member

Dr. Russell Marion, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Dani Herro

Committee Member

Dr. Hans Klar

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Knoeppel


This phenomenological study investigated how six elementary teachers are utilizing digital tools and how they perceive these tools can meet their needs for professional collaboration. The study was designed using the theoretical framework of social constructivism and the belief that knowledge is created through social interactions, meaningful experiences, and collaboration with others. Teachers' perceptions about the importance of collaboration and how they utilize technology to access resources, knowledge, and engage in critical dialogue with other professionals were investigated throughout the study. Data analysis using Moustakas' (1994) modification of the Stevick-Colizzi Keen method revealed three overarching themes. Teachers are often choosing to use digital tools to engage in professional collaboration after school hours due to a lack of time during the school day. Personal relationships influence the frequency and ease with which teachers engage in digital collaboration. Teachers have positive perceptions about using digital tools for collaboration, but need additional training on how to utilize technology to create collaborative environments that support teacher growth and development. These findings have significant implications for school leaders as they plan professional development opportunities that support teachers' needs for professional collaboration.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.