Leading in a digital age : digital leaders' impact on the professional development culture in a secondary school setting
The greater demand for administrators and teachers to stay current in the ever-changing world of technology and education (Cho, 2016; Merriam & Bierema, 2014), justifies the need for more effective, personalized approaches to professional development (Dill, 2015). The data analysis procedure in this study was multi-step and addressed the five research questions. A convergent-mixed design approach was used to capture both quantitative and qualitative data through the theoretical lens of Adult Learning Theory. This research was conducted on the campuses of four rural high schools within 90 minutes of Kansas City where two principals had a presence on social media, and two principals did not have a presence. Data were collected through four principal interviews and 106 teacher surveys. Lastly, the researcher collected survey data from 30 higher education pre-service professors who are actively teaching within their institution's pre-service leadership programs. Qualitative analysis found three recurring themes: Professional learning in the digital age, social media in schools, and lack of preparation and training at the preservice leadership level. Additionally, quantitative data showed there is a difference in teacher's perceptions of professional development if their principal is active on social media or not active on social media. Research from this study shows that principal's commitment to personalized professional development, using Twitter, promotes a culture of collaboration and self-directed learning. Knowing this, the data provides the necessary research for universities to include the use of social media as a professional tool for principals within the curriculum of their leadership programs and provide professors the necessary professional development and resources to achieve this goal.
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