Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

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

Abstract

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.

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