Integrating technology: Making successful change happen in schools

Lois Carol Colletta, Fordham University


This study addressed the problem of school change as it relates to the successful implementation of technology into the curriculum. Specifically, politicians, businesses, and parents are calling upon schools to better prepare their students technologically for the 21st century. In response, schools are investing millions of dollars in technology only to have computers sitting unused in classrooms. This study identified the change factors that facilitated the successful integration of technology into the curriculum in 2 schools. There were 2 phases of this study. In the 1st phase, case study research of 1 public middle school that has been successful at implementing and sustaining substantial school-wide change was conducted. This school, located in Waco, Texas, was presented with 1 of the First Annual Chase/Fordham Awards for Significant School Change in the summer of 2000. In the 2 nd phase, multiple case study methodology was used. After identifying the factors that led to or fostered change in the middle school in Texas, the factors were then applied to 4 schools in the greater New York area—2 of which have been successful at integrating technology and 2 of which have not. At each site, teachers, parents, and administrators were interviewed, individually as well as in focus groups. Observations of technology use, teaching, and meetings were made. Additionally, documents relevant to the change were reviewed. Several patterns emerged. If schools are to be successful with technology integration, they must have leaders who set non-negotiables and demonstrate particular behaviors. For example, they must model technology use, celebrate teachers' successes with technology, look for evidence of technology use in teachers' lessons/observations, and establish trusting and collaborative atmospheres in their buildings. Additionally, districts must invest financial resources into the initiative annually. Third, an extensive professional plan must be implemented that includes the following characteristics: learning must be embedded into the school day, follow-up must be provided on site, and the focus of the staff development should be on the curriculum. Finally, on-site technical support must be provided to reduce the risk of frustration.

Subject Area

School administration|Educational software

Recommended Citation

Colletta, Lois Carol, "Integrating technology: Making successful change happen in schools" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3056135.