I.C.T. Decision-Making Processes in Self-Managing Secondary Schools

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Dempster, Neil

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Parry, Lindsay

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This study examines decision-making processes involved in the development, integration and management of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in self-managing secondary schools and influences that affect these processes. To obtain an holistic view of ICT decision-making processes, a case study is undertaken of three co-educational, state secondary schools within a regional New Zealand city, thereby establishing a multiple case study. The principal, network manager and three staff nominated by the principal as playing an active role in ICT decision-making processes were interviewed using an open-ended interview. Five frequently cited generic decision-making models, developed by theorists to describe specific features of the decision-making process, are examined to provide a theoretical platform against which the interview data are analysed and interpreted. The study concludes that ICT decision-making in the case study schools is influenced particularly by technical knowledge and understandings. Such decision-making tends to be ad-hoc, isolated from other important influences particularly in relation to teaching and learning issues, and 'bounded' because of limited information, the limitations of existing technology, and the inability of schools to keep abreast of technological changes. Six implications are therefore put forward to inform future ICT decision-making in schools. They are: 1. Schools should develop a strategic plan that is underpinned with technical planning requirements; 2. Technical advice and professional development should be provided for principals; 3. Principals should consult outside the school environment for technical advice to assist with decisions; 4. The role of the ICT committee should be redefined to include planning and development of ICT; 5. Principals should ensure that staff receive professional development; and 6. Schools should consider student access and the best way of integrating ICT into teaching and learning. The study highlights the need for schools to develop strategic plans that address teaching and learning issues in the development, integration and management of ICT in self-managing secondary schools. Technical decisions should be made in support of these.

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Thesis (Professional Doctorate)

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Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Cognition, Language and Special Education

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Decision-making processes

information and communication technology

secondary schools (New Zealand)

technical knowledge

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