Mid Sweden University

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Leadership in digitalisation: A practice-oriented approach for expanding access and application of digital technologies in K–12 education
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1926-0104
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis aims to identify, describe, and analyse practices in school organisers’ and school leaders’ collaborative efforts to expand access to and application of digital technologies in K–12 education from a leadership perspective. A practice-oriented approach has been used to analyse practices for expanding this access and application. This approach facilitates a deeper understanding of the actual occurrences in municipalities when it comes to the expansion of digital technologies in their schools. The thesis employs the theory of practice architecture as an analytical tool to investigate the expansion of digital technologies in K–12 education from leaders’ perspectives. The research took place in three Swedish municipalities. The data comes from document analysis, participant observations, interviews, and surveys. The thesis comprises four articles, each contributing valuable insights into digitalisation in K–12 education, with the first two focussing on the perspectives of school organisers and school leaders, the third emphasising the expansion of digital technologies, and the last exploring the perceptions of school organisers and school leaders regarding the expansion of digital technologies in K–12 education. School organisers underlined the importance of schools gaining access to digital technologies that are not only usable but also well suited for their intended purposes. At the same time, school leaders explained that the misapplication of digital technologies in K–12 education may generate negative effects. For example, nonuser-friendly interfaces in software may increase users’ workloads and reduce teachers' motivation to use digital technologies in teaching due to a lack of support and digital competence. The school leaders highlighted that their collaboration with the school organiser and IT department has been successful in recent years. At the same time, they pointed out that the reduced number of staff at strategic and operational levels has created challenges in maintaining a productive dialogue with school organisers, consequently impacting digitalisation in schools. School organisers highlighted that leadership for expanding digital technologies in K–12 education should include a complete understanding of what digitalisation entails, which is vital to digital expansion and enhancing teaching quality. At the same time, they pointed out that school leaders need to prioritise their time and that digitalisation leadership training might not be the highest prioritisation in K–12 education. The results have implications for K–12 education leaders striving to expand digital technologies in their schools.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2024. , p. 146
Series
Mid Sweden University doctoral thesis, ISSN 1652-893X ; 402
Keywords [en]
Collaboration, digitalisation, digital competence, digital technology, K–12 education, leader, leadership, practice, schools
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-50332ISBN: 978-91-89786-48-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-50332DiVA, id: diva2:1833538
Public defence
2024-02-23, Fälldinsalen, Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid tidpunkten för framläggandet av avhandlingen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 3 och 4 inskickade.

At the time of the PhD defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 3 and 4 submitted.

Available from: 2024-02-01 Created: 2024-02-01 Last updated: 2024-02-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. School organisers' expression on the expansion of the access and application of digital technologies in educational systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>School organisers' expression on the expansion of the access and application of digital technologies in educational systems
2023 (English)In: The international journal of information and learning technology, ISSN 2056-4880, E-ISSN 2056-4899, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 73-83Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose This paper is aimed at describing and analysing what school organisers express when they network to expand the access and application of digital technologies in educational systems. Digital technologies develop rapidly in society, creating challenges and opportunities in people's lives. Schools have an important task: to prepare young people for a future permeated by digital technology. Design/methodology/approach Participant observations and semi-structured interviews were used to describe and analyse how school organisers describe digitalisation work in the educational system. Findings The findings show that school organisers describe digital competence and providing support to schools as being important for expanding the access and application of digital technologies in the educational system. They also talk about equality connected to digitalisation work, changes in organisations, the importance of a holistic perspective, and a gold thread. They furthermore explain that networks, a sharing culture, good relations, and good communication enable digitalisation work. In addition, they point out that the lack of time, attitudes towards digital technologies, the lack of digital competence, and resistance to change are some of the constraints for digital technologies in the educational system. Practical implications School organisers need to implement digitalisation policies, which can be problematic because they work strategically to support operational activities. Originality/value This paper contributes knowledge about school organisers' work to expand the access and application of digital technologies in the educational system.

Keywords
Challenge, Digital competence, Digital technology, Opportunity, School organiser
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-46078 (URN)10.1108/IJILT-03-2022-0070 (DOI)000850770100001 ()2-s2.0-85137415552 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-09-16 Created: 2022-09-16 Last updated: 2024-02-01Bibliographically approved
2. Leading the digitalisation process in K–12 schools – The school leaders’ perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Leading the digitalisation process in K–12 schools – The school leaders’ perspective
2024 (English)In: Education and Information Technologies: Official Journal of the IFIP technical committee on Education, ISSN 1360-2357, E-ISSN 1573-7608, Vol. 29, no 3, p. 2585-2603Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Digital technologies have increased worldwide in the last years. In addition, the pandemic has strengthened digital technologies’ roles in education, requiring twenty-first-century skills, such as digital competence, and indicating a new normal. Digitalisation in education creates opportunities that could lead to positive effects if digital technologies are applied correctly. However, applying digital technologies can incorrectly trigger a negative development – for example, increasing workload due to nonfriendly user interfaces in software and reducing the motivation to apply digital technologies in education due to a lack of digital competence. Teachers require access to digital technologies and digital competence related to educational issues that influence equality within and among K–12 schools, thus making school leaders’ roles crucial in digitalising education. Three group interviews and a survey were used to collect the data in a network of three municipalities in Sweden. The data have been categorised and analysed with thematic analysis. The results show that school leaders describe the digitalisation process in the form of digital competence for teachers, access to hardware and software, and a shared culture. School leaders explain that clear guidelines, collaboration between teachers, and enough time enable digitalisation in education. However, the lack of support and the lack of resources constrain digitalisation in education. At the same time, school leaders do not often discuss their own digital competence. The school leaders’ roles in the digitalisation of K–12 schools are important, requiring digital competence for leading the digitalisation process. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2024
Keywords
Digital competence, Digitalisation, K–12 education, K–12 schools, Leadership for digitalisation, School leader
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-48550 (URN)10.1007/s10639-023-11935-x (DOI)001004144200002 ()2-s2.0-85161614308 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-06-20 Created: 2023-06-20 Last updated: 2024-02-28Bibliographically approved

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Reis-Andersson, Jussara

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