A profile of principals in digital learning environments

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kelly Weaver Withers (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Carl Lashley

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative research study was to examine and describe principals of a digital learning environment (DLE) and illustrate how their skills, qualities, and behaviors look in practice. The research consisted of case studies of two principals and included principal interviews, teacher focus groups, observations of open house events, observations of professional learning team meetings, and document analysis. The study was meant to expand upon the current literature available about leadership in a digital context and create a descriptive, conceptual summary of possible approaches rather than a prescriptive list of actions. In the literature review, I identified specific traits of a principal in a DLE. This list of actions served as my conceptual framework that shaped participant selection as well as interview questions for both the principals and the focus groups. After collecting and analyzing the data, I identified seven key themes. These themes are: 1. Principals possess and clearly articulate a belief that all students can learn and deserve the opportunity to do so. 2. Principals believe in the power of a strong teacher and strong instructional strategies as key levers for student growth. 3. Principals foster a culture of collaboration and risk taking. 4. Principals act as the instructional leader in their buildings. 5. Principals believe that schools are places of continual learning and provide professional development opportunities aligned to the learning. 6. Principals believe that face-to-face communication is the most effective way to build relationships with internal and external stakeholders. 7. Principals take ownership of their school and directly communicate their expectations and beliefs. In this study it was concluded that these themes supported, added to, or caused reclassification of the traits listed in the original conceptual framework. Therefore, I created a revised conceptual framework. I also produced a descriptive summary of a principal of a DLE in practice. The themes that emerged from this study, the examples that supported these themes, and the revised traits of a principal of a DLE could add to information used by school districts to recruit, select, and retain principals. Additionally, the findings of this study provide examples of areas to target when building the capacities of future principals during preparation programs. Future research should include additional principals to create a more robust description that could further support the development, recruitment, selection, retention, and evaluation of principals of a DLE.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Digital Leadership, Educational Leadership
School principals
Educational leadership
Educational technology
Computer-assisted instruction
Education $x Effect of technological innovations on

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