Degree Date

Summer 8-2014

Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Tema Okun

Second Advisor

Vicki Gunther

Third Advisor

Michael Lubelfeld


The focus of this study is to document and describe the integration of technology in the everyday lives of students in Grades 3–8 attending a high-performing public school district in an affluent Chicago suburb. The following research questions guide this study:

  • How do students in Grades 3–8 integrate technology into their lives?
  • What are the implications of students’ technology integration for teaching and learning?
  • How can teachers capitalize upon students’ technology integration in ways that inform instructional practice?

A review of the literature presents related information in areas that explore the increasingly digital world of our students; curriculum, instruction, and research; innovation, creativity, and learning environments; student social and cognitive development; and student technology use. In this ethnographic study, qualitative research methods are used to interview 55 students in 17 focus groups. An analysis of focus group data is presented in the following categories: technology device access and use; gaming; electronic book readers; television and online video; imposed limits on technology; communicating using technology; and technology in the school environment. Student technology use information is presented in the student voice and is then discussed in the context of improving teaching and learning. This study recommends that both parents and teachers should intentionally seek to understand the technology-enabled pursuits of children to better understand the “whole child.” Further, teachers and other school leaders are encouraged to welcome student-owned technology in school and encourage project-based learning opportunities.




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