Assumptions constructing a school superintendent's mental model for technology use
Anderson, Allan Lawrence
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The continual innovation with technology in the world has caused many significant changes which have affected Montana superintendents' managerial, instruction, and political roles. The political environments of NCLB and community technology expectations created a unique context for the superintendent of the case study. Montana superintendents are learning to integrate technology into their roles to improve schools and increasing student growth. Approaches a Montana superintendent with a "high reputation" for technology implemented into his roles to improve schools and increase student achievement are documented in the study. Reasons for implementing the technological approaches answered research questions focusing on assumptions held in mental models. Case study research with a mental model theoretical framework was used to describe technological approaches the superintendent integrated into his roles. Interviews, observations, field notes, and artifacts provided data required to describe the technological approaches. Assumptions clustered together provided the insight to understand technology approaches from emerging themes. Assumptions were drawn from themes and checked with the superintendent. The superintendent managed his district resources in essentially a paperless office. Student records were managed with technology in his schools. Internet connections made communication instant. The assumptions of efficiency drove decisions to implement managerial technology approaches. The superintendent's belief that students preferred learning with technology indicated a student-centered instructional leadership style. The superintendent believed tapping into students' interest in technology was a way to motivate them. The superintendent believed that alignment of student learning preferences with instruction was important. To integrate technology into instruction required professional development in order to make teachers comfortable infusing technology into instruction to deliver content, technological assessment approaches, and continuous visibility to sustain political support. The assumptions held by the superintendent that affected the superintendent's approaches to integrate technology through his roles were 1) leadership's belief that student learning preferences with technology were important, 2) leadership belief that technological learning and instruction should be aligned, 3) leadership's belief that teachers needed professional development to become comfortable with technology, 4) leadership's belief that alternative technological assessment data were superior to yearly AYP results, and 5) leadership's skills in fostering supportive relationships created a political shared will.