NATIONAL DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY COORDINATORS STUDY Technical Report 1: Personal and Professional Characteristics

February 3, 2003 Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D.

Department of Educational Policy and Administration 330 Wulling Hall, 86 Pleasant Street SE Minneapolis, MN 55455-0221 (612) 626-0768, mcleod@umn.edu Copyright © 2003, NCREL & Scott McLeod. All rights reserved.
This work was produced in whole or in part with funds from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), United States Department of Education, under contract number NCREL PO 021895, ED-01-00-001. Assistance for this project also was provided by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and Quality Education Data, Inc. (QED). The content of this report does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of these contributors nor does mention or visual representation of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement of this report by the federal government.

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Table of Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................ Design and Methodology ........................................................................................ Limitations of the Study .......................................................................................... Findings .................................................................................................................. Individual Demographics ............................................................................. Professional Background and Experience ................................................... Current Professional Position ...................................................................... Salary .......................................................................................................... Professional Responsibilities ....................................................................... Professional Development ........................................................................... Job Satisfaction ........................................................................................... Implications and Conclusions ................................................................................. References ............................................................................................................. Appendix A. United States Census Bureau Geographic Regions .......................... Appendix B. Survey Form ...................................................................................... 1 2 3 5 5 6 7 10 11 12 14 15 17 19 20

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List of Tables
Table 1. Representativeness of Mailing Sample and Respondent Group .............. by Metro Status (3 Categories) Table 2. Representativeness of Mailing Sample and Respondent Group .............. by Geographic Region Table 3. Representativeness of Mailing Sample and Respondent Group .............. by Metro Status (7 Categories) Table 4. Sex of Respondents ................................................................................. Table 5. Race / Ethnicity of Respondents .............................................................. Table 6. Highest Degree Acquired by Respondents .............................................. Table 7. Primary Background / Training of Respondents ....................................... Table 8. Metro Status of Sole Technology Support Providers ................................ Table 9. Primary Job Titles of Respondents ........................................................... Table 10. Number of Job Titles Held by Respondents ........................................... Table 11. Length of Contract Held by Respondents ............................................... Table 12. Employment Level of Respondents ........................................................ Table 13. Type of Contract Held by Respondents .................................................. Table 14. Average Salary of Respondents by Metro Status ................................... Table 15. Average Salary of Respondents by Geographic Region and Sex .......... Table 16. Allocation of Respondents’ Time ............................................................ Table 17. Total Hours of Professional Development by Metro Status ................... Table 18. Perception of Professional Development Opportunities ......................... 2 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 9 9 9 10 10 11 11 13 13

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Table 19. Job Satisfaction and Employment Context ............................................. Table 20. Potential Job Mobility of Respondents ...................................................

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Introduction
District-level technology coordinators are crucial components of many school districts’ technology support strategies. District technology coordinators perform a variety of vital functions, including technology planning and budgeting, maintaining technological infrastructures, supervising other technology support staff, and providing technology-related employee training and professional development (Brown, 1998; Center on Education and Training for Employment, 1995; Meskimen, 1989; Moursund, 1985; Strudler, 1987). These individuals typically serve as the key intermediaries between districts’ personnel and students and their computer networks, hardware, and software. The importance of the work that district-level technology coordinators do is underscored by the research on school technology support. Previous studies have shown that effective support from technology coordinators is a predictor of the success of technology implementation (see, e.g., Fuller, 2000; Ronnkvist, Dexter, & Anderson, 2000; Vojtek, 1997), and a number of authors have noted that inadequate support of technology-using personnel and/or computer equipment is almost guaranteed to doom school technology initiatives (see, e.g., Ginsberg & McCormick, 1998; Meltzer & Sherman, 1997; Pruitt-Mentle, 2000). Technology coordinators need to have a broad base of technical, leadership, and communication skills in order to effectively facilitate the use of technology by others (Brown, 1998; Marcovitz, 2000; Meltzer & Sherman, 1997; Meskimen, 1989; Ronnkvist et al., 2000; Strudler, 1987), and they must be versatile enough to help educators bridge the worlds of information technology, K-12 instruction, and organizational management (Beattie, 2000; Bushweller, 1996; Moursund, 1992). Despite their importance to school districts’ effective technology implementation, little is known about the individuals who occupy district-level technology coordinator positions. Only a few national studies have been conducted of technology support staff. Most of those surveyed school-level technology coordinators and most focused on computer hardware and software support issues and/or teacher technology implementation rather than on the personal and professional characteristics of individual district-level respondents (see, e.g., Barbour, 1986; Carter, 1997; Lynch, Hobbs, & Hollanders, 1999; McGinty, 1987; Ronnkvist et al., 2000; United States Department of Education, Planning and Evaluation Services, 2000). A national-level survey conducted by Electronic Learning magazine (McGinty, 1987) did report some limited demographic and professional information on district-level technology coordinators, but that data was last collected in 1986. This study was intended to address our limited understanding of the personal and professional characteristics of district-level technology support leaders. The study was designed to acquire information about the demographic, educational, and

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experiential backgrounds of these pivotal members of our nation’s school technology support infrastructure. Contributors to this project included the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and Quality Education Data, Inc. (QED).

Design and Methodology
The sampling unit for this study was school districts. A database of regular public school districts was obtained from QED; supervisory unions, regional education agencies, and other aggregate school entities were excluded for purposes of this study. A stratified sample of 4,944 districts (37.6%) was derived from the population of 13,144 districts in the QED database for which metro status data were available. Using United States Department of Census categories, districts in the sample were stratified by both metro status and geographical region in order to ensure the overall representativeness of the sample (see Appendix A for a listing of the states in each region). Because of their much lower presence in the overall population of districts, urban districts were oversampled in an attempt to ensure an adequate number of responses in that category. Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the stratification of the mailing sample compared to the overall population of school districts. Table 1. Representativeness of Mailing Sample and Respondent Group by Metro Status (3 Categories). METRO STATUS Districts in Overall QED Database Districts Mailed Initial Survey Districts Completing Initial Survey Urban 824 (6.3%) 816 (16.5%) 56 (15.6%) Suburban 6,428 (48.9%) 2,136 (43.2%) 177 (49.2%) Rural 5,892 (44.8%) 1,992 (40.3%) 127 (35.3%) Total 13,144 4,944 360

Invitations to participate in the study, survey forms, and self-addressed stamped return envelopes were mailed to the district-level technology coordinator in each district in the mailing sample; these individuals were defined as the persons primarily responsible for supporting information technology in their district. Participants in the study were directed to online letters of support from NCREL and CoSN and were provided with other survey supports such as extra online copies of the survey form and contact information for the researcher. Participants were encouraged to contact the researcher if they had questions about the survey form, particularly the complex

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Table 2. Representativeness of Mailing Sample and Respondent Group by Geographic Region. REGIONS Districts in Overall QED Database Districts Mailed Initial Survey Districts Completing Initial Survey Northeast 2,423 (18.4%) 909 (18.4%) 51 (14.2%) South 3,188 (24.3%) 1,198 (24.2%) 59 (16.4%) Midwest 5,007 (38.1%) 1,831 (37.0%) 180 (50.0%) West 2,526 (19.2%) 1,006 (20.3%) 70 (19.4%) Total 13,144 4,944 360

response table about district technology support staffing patterns (see Appendix B for a copy of the survey form). Despite implementing these and several other mechanisms to increase response rate, including follow-up postcards, additional solicitations to respond from CoSN to its members, and registration discounts for the annual CoSN conference, only 360 district technology coordinators responded with usable data. These districts represented a response rate of 7.3% of the mailing sample and constituted 2.7% of the overall population of districts. Although the response rate for the survey phase of this study was much lower than expected, the decision was made to proceed with analysis of the survey data. This decision was made because 1) the number of respondents was large enough to permit some disaggregation; 2) no other national-level data existed in regard to district-level technology coordinators; and 3) the respondent districts appeared to be fairly representative of the larger mailing sample and overall population of districts (Tables 1 and 2). Although a variety of explanations are possible for the low rate of return, likely reasons include the difficulty of completing the staffing patterns response table (particularly for large districts) and the fact that the targeted individuals have some of the busiest work schedules of all school employees.

Limitations of the Study
Clearly the biggest limitation of this study was the low survey return rate. Although the number of respondents still allowed for analysis of both overall data and disaggregated data within certain categories, results should be interpreted with caution due to the low number of respondents. Disaggregated findings in this report are given only where they were statistically possible and considered to be important. Because of the low response rate, follow-up telephone interviews are being conducted with a stratified sample of nonrespondents in order to verify the validity of the survey results

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and to elicit additional, in-depth information about the experiences of district-level technology coordinators. Urban school districts were a little overrepresented in the respondent group, reflecting the purposeful sampling bias; rural districts were slightly underrepresented. Also, the Northeast and South regions of the country were a little underrepresented in the respondent group, while the Midwest region was somewhat overrepresented. The higher response rate of Midwest school districts may have been due to a greater perceived affinity with the two primary sponsors of the study, NCREL and the University of Minnesota, which are both Midwest-based institutions. Another limitation of the study was the fact that very few large central city school districts were represented in the respondent group, despite the explicit oversampling of urban districts. Only 7 of the 173 large central city school districts in the country were in the respondent pool (Table 3), and only 2 of those were among the 200 largest school districts in the country (Young, 2002). The job responsibilities of district-level technology coordinators in these large urban districts are incredibly complex and these individuals simply may have had neither the time nor inclination to complete the survey. Similarly, these districts tend to have the largest, most complicated technology support staffing structures and the technology leaders for these districts may have felt that it was too difficult to input their staffing patterns into the response table. A different research methodology likely is required to capture the technology support staffing patterns of our largest school districts. Table 3. Representativeness of Mailing Sample and Respondent Group by Metro Status (7 Categories). Districts in Overall QED Database 173 1.3% 651 5.0% 1258 9.6% 880 6.7% 314 2.4% 3976 30.2% 5892 44.8% 13,144 100.0% Districts Mailed Initial Survey 171 3.5% 645 13.0% 418 8.5% 294 5.9% 115 2.3% 1309 26.5% 1992 40.3% 4,944 100.0% Districts Completing Initial Survey 7 1.9% 49 13.6% 38 10.6% 30 8.3% 8 2.2% 101 28.1% 127 35.3% 360 100.0%

METRO STATUS Large Central City Mid-Size Central City Urban Fringe of Large City Urban Fringe of Mid-Size City Large Town Small Town Rural Total

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Findings
Data from returned surveys were coded and entered into a SPSS database. Survey data then were combined with the original QED database, which allowed the researcher to match the survey respondents to other institutional characteristics not delineated on the survey form. Data from one survey were unusable and were deleted, resulting in a usable total of 360 out of 361 surveys (99.7%).

Individual Demographics
Tables 4 and 5 show that the respondent district technology coordinators were overwhelmingly White and male (see also McGinty, 1987). Respondents’ age ranged from 21 to 64, with a mean age of 46 (SD = 9.3). This lack of greater diversity may be due to historical and persistent patterns of discrimination against racial / ethnic minorities in administration, a lack of access to computers by minority families (i.e., as a result of the “digital divide”), or other causes. Also, the dominance of middle-aged men in these positions reflects general demographic patterns of district-level school administrators and may be indicative of a greater “affinity” of men toward information technology, social and institutional steering of men toward administrative and/or computer-related vocations, or other societal factors. Table 4. Sex of Respondents. SEX Male Female Total Frequency 229 129 358 Percent 64.0% 36.0% 100.0%

Table 5. Race / Ethnicity of Respondents. RACE / ETHNICITY Caucasian, Non-Hispanic Other Total Frequency 333 22 355 Percent 93.8% 6.2% 100.0%

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Professional Background and Experience
As Table 6 illustrates, over half of the survey respondents (57.8%) had a Master’s degree, and all but 7% had a Bachelor’s degree or higher (see also McGinty, 1987). This level of educational acquisition is higher than that held by the general public and reflects the advanced training and licensure required for most district-level administrative positions. It is notable that at least some individuals were serving as district-level technology coordinators with only a high school or Associate’s degree. Those individuals with an Associate’s degree may have received technical training in information technology, while those respondents with merely a high school diploma likely were self-taught or may have come through a high school technology certification program. Because administrative licensure typically is acquired through a Master’s or advanced licensure program, the vast majority of the 35% of respondents without a Master’s degree likely have little to no educational leadership training, with concurrent implications for their ability to be effective educational technology leaders in their organizations. Table 6. Highest Degree Acquired by Respondents. HIGHEST DEGREE High School Associate’s Bachelor’s Master’s Specialist Doctorate Total Frequency 14 11 95 199 8 17 344 Percent 4.1% 3.2% 27.6% 57.8% 2.3% 4.9% 100.0%

Respondents were asked about their primary professional background and training (Table 7). Nearly three-fourths (72.9%) indicated that their primary background was in education rather than information technology. Similarly, 79% of the respondents had at least one year of classroom teaching experience, with a mean of 10 years in the classroom (SD = 9.2). Although some respondents had taught for as many as 38 years, a substantial proportion (21%) had never been a classroom teacher. Survey respondents had served a mean of 5.3 years (SD = 4.4) in their current positions as district technology coordinators. Half (50.1%) had served 4 years or less and three-fourths (74.6%) had served six years or less; only 10% had served in their current positions longer than 10 years. Similarly, survey respondents had served a mean of 7.3 years (SD = 6.2) in any technology support role for a K-12 educational employer (including their current positions), and 40% said that they had never served in a technology support role for a district other than their current one. These statistics

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Table 7. Primary Background / Training of Respondents. PRIMARY BACKGROUND / TRAINING Education Information Technology Total Frequency 245 91 336 Percent 72.9% 27.1% 100.0%

illustrate the relative newness of the district technology coordinator position nationwide as well as the relative professional inexperience of the people holding these positions. Slightly over half of the respondents (53.7%) said that they had never served in a technology support role for another, non-K-12 employer such as a corporation, a higher education institution, or the military. Of those respondents that did have outside experience (mean = 3.8 years; SD = 6.6), over a third (36.0%) had three years of experience or less in that other setting. One notable finding is that nearly a third of respondents (30.0%) were the only person providing technology support in their districts. Coordinators who were the sole technology support providers in their districts were much more likely to be in rural districts compared to technology coordinators as a whole (Tables 8 and 1). This was partly a function of district size; smaller districts were somewhat more likely to have only one individual providing technology support, but the correlation was not as strong as might be expected (r = -0.29, p < 0.01). Other explanations for these staffing patterns may include district funding choices and/or a lack of recognition of adequate staffing needs, regardless of district size (Weiss, 1996). Table 8. Metro Status of Sole Technology Support Providers. METRO STATUS OF SOLE TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT PROVIDERS Urban Suburban Rural Total

Frequency 5 41 61 107

Percent 4.7% 38.3% 57.0% 100.0%

Current Professional Position
Most respondents indicated that their primary job title in their districts was one such as Technology Coordinator, Director of Technology, Chief Technology Officer, or Director of Information Services (Table 9). However, over one-fourth (27.1%) of

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respondents indicated that they had a different primary job title. These individuals included teachers, principals, superintendents, librarians / media specialists, and business managers. Table 9. Primary Job Titles of Respondents. PRIMARY JOB TITLES OF RESPONDENTS Technology Coordinator, Director of Technology, Chief Technology Officer, Director of Information Services Other Central Office Teacher Network Manager, Systems Administrator Assistant Superintendent, Associate Superintendent Librarian, Media Specialist Principal, Assistant Principal Technology Specialist, Technologist Superintendent Business Manager, Treasurer Other Total Frequency 256 Percent 72.9%

22 17 13 10 8 7 6 5 4 3 351

6.3% 4.8% 3.7% 2.8% 2.3% 2.0% 1.7% 1.4% 1.1% 0.9% 100.0%

Nearly one-fifth of the respondents held more than one official title in their district (Table 10). Because the duties of a district-level technology coordinator easily can constitute a full-time job for even a small district (Beattie, 2000; Moursund, 1992), it is likely that many of these individuals are challenged to find time to fulfill all of their technology coordinator responsibilities well. Such role confusion and overlap is probably one contributing factor to the inefficient or ineffective technology implementation seen in many school districts. The survey data indicated that there was an apparent mismatch between many district technology coordinators’ duties and the type of contract that they held. Nearly

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Table 10. Number of Job Titles Held by Respondents. NUMBER OF JOB TITLES HELD BY RESPONDENTS 1 2 3 4 5 Total Frequency 281 53 12 3 2 351 Percent 80.1% 15.1% 3.4% 0.9% 0.6% 100.0%

three-fourths of respondents were on either a 11- or 12-month contract and nearly all were considered district- rather than school-level employees (Tables 11 and 12). However, as Table 13 illustrates, just over half were on an administrative contract and nearly 30% of respondents were on a teacher contract. Rural coordinators were more likely to be on a teaching contract than their urban or suburban peers. These statistics show that district-level technology coordinators’ contracts do not always reflect the level of their responsibility. Table 11. Length of Contract Held by Respondents. LENGTH OF CONTRACT HELD BY RESPONDENTS 7 Months 9 Months 10 Months 11 Months 12 Months Total Frequency 1 34 61 37 213 360 Percent 0.3% 9.8% 17.6% 10.7% 61.6% 100.0%

Table 12. Employment Level of Respondents. EMPLOYMENT LEVEL OF RESPONDENTS District School Total Frequency 328 11 339 Percent 96.8% 3.2% 100.0%

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Table 13. Type of Contract Held by Respondents. TYPE OF CONTRACT HELD BY RESPONDENTS Administrative Teaching Other Total Frequency 192 97 55 344 Percent 55.8% 28.2% 16.0% 100.0%

Salary
The average annual salary of the survey respondents was $56,251. Salaries for individuals in these positions ranged widely, from $8,000 per year to $116,000 per year. Unsurprisingly, salaries were higher in urban school districts and were dramatically lower in rural districts (Table 14). An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) confirmed that these salary differences were statistically significant (F(2,344) = 58.406, p < .001). Such salary differentials have important implications for the ability of rural school districts to recruit and retain high quality technology support personnel. Table 14. Average Salary of Respondents by Metro Status. AVERAGE SALARY OF RESPONDENTS Urban Suburban Rural Grand Mean Mean $69,736 $60,646 $43,772 $56,251 Standard Deviation 15,323 18,503 13,916 19,104 N 55 172 120 347

Regional and gender salary differences existed in the respondent pool as well (Table 15), although these differences were not statistically significant. Salaries were somewhat higher in the Northeast than the other three regions, which probably reflected a higher cost of living in that area of the country. Average salaries of men were about $4,100 higher than their female peers, which again is probably reflective of male overrepresentation in school administrative roles and technology-related vocations. In general, average salaries of school district technology coordinators were significantly lower than those for persons with similar duties in business and industry (McLeod, 2002). These salary differences are especially troublesome given that some coordinators’ salaries were buttressed by their assumption of other, often relatively highpaying, administrative duties (e.g., superintendent, principal, business manager) in addition to their technology support responsibilities (McLeod, 2002).

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Table 15. Average Salary of Respondents by Geographic Region and Sex. AVERAGE SALARY OF RESPONDENTS Geographic Region Northeast South Midwest West Sex Male Female Grand Mean Mean $62,808 $55,488 $54,734 $55,928 $57,741 $53,606 $56,251 Standard Deviation 18,844 17,182 17,490 23,634 18,332 20,207 19,104 N 50 55 174 68 222 125 347

Professional Responsibilities
Respondents said that they spent an average of 64% of their time on technology support functions (Table 16). Technology support was defined broadly as • • • • • planning, coordinating, management, and budgeting; network support; computer hardware and software support; employee training and professional development; and/or other technology support duties (e.g., management information systems, web site development).

Table 16. Allocation of Respondents’ Time. ALLOCATION OF RESPONDENTS’ TIME Planning, coordinating, management, and budgeting Network support Computer hardware and software support Employee training and professional development Other technology support duties Grand Mean Mean 37.0% 19.8% 28.3% 14.9% 11.6% 64.1% Standard Deviation 27.2 13.8 20.4 12.6 14.6 33.8 N 351 320 329 331 158 353

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Responses ranged widely in this area, with some district-level technology coordinators reporting that they spent 100% of their overall time on technology support, administration, and training, and others saying that they spent only 1% of their time on such duties. Almost 70% of respondents said they spend at least a portion of their time on tasks unrelated to technology support, and 31% said they spend less than half of their overall time in their technology support role. These responses are indicative of the multiple professional roles and job responsibilities that many district technology coordinators are asked to assume by their school district supervisors (Tables 9 and 10) and reflect a general trend of asking technology coordinators to be all things to all people (Beattie, 2000; Brown, 1998; Moursund, 1985, 1992; Reilly, 1999; Strudler, 1987; Vojtek). Survey participants were asked to identify what percentage of their time was spent on various aspects of technology leadership and support. Planning, coordinating, management, and budgeting had the highest mean response (37%), and a third (33.0%) of respondents said they spend at least half of their time doing this. Following, in order, were • • • • computer hardware and software support (mean of 28.3%; about a fifth (21.6%) of respondents said they spend at least half of their time doing this); network support (mean of 19.8%; only 4% of respondents said they spend at least half of their time doing this); employee training and professional development (mean of 14.9%; only 5% of respondents said they spend at least half of their time doing this); and other technology support duties (mean of 11.6%; only 3% of respondents said they spend at least half of their time engaged in these other duties).

Especially notable is the relative infrequency of employee training and professional development. This may represent, as many critics of school technology implementation have claimed, a relative lack of emphasis on employee training needs (Brand, 1998; Harvey & Purnell, 1995) or it may reflect assumption of those duties by other personnel in the district. However, it should be noted that those individuals who were the sole technology support provider for their district spent less of their overall time on employee training and professional development (mean of 12.2%, SD = 9.4) than did respondents who had help from other personnel in their organization (mean of 16.1%, SD = 13.6), t(275) = -2.99, p < .01).

Professional Development
Respondents were asked to state how many total hours of professional development they had received in the past year. Urban technology coordinators appeared to receive, on average, more hours of professional development than rural or suburban coordinators (Table 17), although differences based on metro status were not

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statistically significant. Survey participants reported that they had received an average of less than a week’s worth (34.9 hours) of professional development and training in the past year. One in six respondents (15.9%) reported that they had received a day or less of professional development; just over a third (34.5%) reported that they had received at least one week’s worth of professional growth opportunities over the previous twelve months. Table 17. Total Hours of Professional Development by Metro Status.* TOTAL HOURS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Urban Suburban Rural Grand Mean
*

Mean 42.8 33.8 32.7 34.9

Standard Deviation 38.0 38.2 32.7 36.4

N 55 165 119 339

One extreme outlier response of 920 hours was removed from this analysis.

While 35 hours per year is comparable to the minimum professional development requirements for principals in many states (National Association of Secondary School Principals, 2003), it is likely less than that for peers in other employment sectors given corporations’ general tendency to better invest in the ongoing training of their employees. When asked about professional development opportunities for technology support personnel in their district, over 40% of participants said that professional development opportunities in their school district were inadequate (Table 18). Table 18. Perception of Professional Development Opportunities. PERCEPTION OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES Adequate Professional Development Opportunities Are Provided in District to Technology Support Personnel

Strongly Agree 64 (18.0%)

Agree 145 (40.7%)

Disagree 113 (31.7%)

Strongly Disagree 34 (9.4%)

Total 356

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Job Satisfaction
Several questions on the survey pertained to participants’ employment context and job satisfaction. While respondents generally were satisfied (83.8%) in their current positions as district-level technology coordinators (see also McGinty, 1987), more than half of the coordinators in the study (53.2%) believed that there are insufficient resources for technology support in their district (Table 19). Moreover, more than onefifth of respondents (21.3%) believed that their background and training are not appropriate for their job responsibilities. This was especially true for rural respondents; one-third stated that their background and training were inadequate for their job duties. A Chi-Square test of independence confirmed that these latter differences were statistically significant (χ2(2, N = 357) = 17.567, p < .001). These statistics indicate that rural school districts may be having difficulty recruiting qualified technology support personnel or may be struggling to provide technology leaders with professional development opportunities sufficient to maintain their expertise. Table 19. Job Satisfaction and Employment Context. JOB SATISFACTION AND EMPLOYMENT CONTEXT Satisfied in Current Position as District Technology Coordinator Adequate Resources are Allocated in District for Technology Support Professional Background and Training is Appropriate for Duties as District Technology Coordinator Strongly Agree 132 (37.5%) 47 (13.2%) 128 (35.9%) Agree 163 (46.3%) 119 (33.5%) 153 (42.9%) Disagree 43 (12.2%) 137 (38.6%) 60 (16.8%) Strongly Disagree 14 (4.0%) 52 (14.6%) 16 (4.5%) Total 352 355 357

Participants in the study were asked about their potential mobility. When asked to assume that constraints on relocating were not an issue, nearly 3 in 5 district technology coordinators (59.0%) said that they probably would leave for a job that had the same amount of responsibility but better pay (Table 20). Similarly, one-third of respondents (33.7%) said that they probably would leave for a job that had the same pay but fewer responsibilities. Because “a very large share” of workers in information technology fields move “frequently” (Lerman, 1998), these two statistics have enormous implications for school district recruitment and retention of qualified technology support personnel since corporations generally will be able to provide better pay and/or ensure fewer work responsibilities than most educational organizations (Reilly, 1999).

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Table 20. Potential Job Mobility of Respondents. POTENTIAL JOB MOBILITY OF RESPONDENTS Would Leave for Equal Responsibilities but Better Pay Would Leave for Equal Pay but Fewer Responsibilities Yes 206 (59.0%) 117 (33.7%) No 143 (41.0%) 230 (66.3%) Total 349 347

Implications and Conclusions
To the extent that the results from this study’s participants can be considered representative of the larger national population of district-level technology coordinators, several key conclusions can be drawn from this study’s data. First, a significant proportion of school districts are not investing enough of their technology support resources into qualified personnel. School districts, particularly rural ones, appear to be underpaying their technology leaders compared to business and industry. Many school districts also appear to be understaffing their technology support function (see, e.g., Beattie, 2000; Cappuccio, 1996), especially those districts that only have one full-time or part-time technology support provider. In addition, many districts are not adequately providing for the professional development needs of their technology support staff, at least according to the opinion of their technology leaders. All of these factors contribute to a climate of employee stress and dissatisfaction and, as the Gartner Group has noted, “for every dollar that is not spent on proper support, two dollars may eventually be spent to satisfy support requirements by other means” (Mulcahy, 1995). Second, school district technology leaders are being given too many (and often competing) responsibilities. A significant proportion of district-level coordinators are being asked to assume other work roles in addition to their primary jobs. Similarly, administrators and other employees are being asked to take on technology support tasks on top of their existing full-time responsibilities. Under these circumstances, the ability of these individuals to substantially perform the duties of a district-level technology coordinator job is minimal. Third, the data are pretty clear that district technology coordinators as a whole are not a very diverse group. White, middle-aged men appear to dominate the demography of the population, and greater attention probably should be paid to attracting women and individuals of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds into these important and influential positions.

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Finally, the lack of adequate monetary and structural supports in many school districts contributes to their failure to recruit and/or retain high quality technology support personnel (Reilly, 1999). In such a mobile employment sector, districts cannot afford to engage in practices that contribute to the migration of their technology support staff to greener pastures. Better alignment of coordinator contracts, salary scales, and professional development opportunities with corporate norms will be required if school districts are to have any hope of sustaining technology-rich organizational and learning environments. If technology is to be used effectively in our nation’s schools, they must stop asking our principals and central office administrators to also be technology coordinators. In addition, they must stop believing that the role of district-level technology coordinator can be done on a part-time basis and must begin allocating greater resources toward technology support personnel. As many practitioners know, “the most striking omission from [school] technology plans [often is] a realistic model of technical staffing” (Weiss, 1996). By overburdening technology coordinators with unrelated activities, school districts prevent the optimization of technology usage in their organizations. Furthermore, undercommitment of institutional resources damages coordinators’ effectiveness and morale (Moursund, 1992; Reilly, 1999). In this increasingly technologically-dependent society, school districts can ill afford to continue such technology staffing practices if they are to truly meet the needs of 21st century students and communities.

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References
Barbour, A. (1986). Computer coordinator survey. Electronic Learning, 5(5), 35-38. Beattie, R. M. (2000, September). The truth about tech support. Retrieved January 31, 2003, from http://www.electronic-school.com/2000/09/0900f3.html Brand, G. A. (1998). What research says: Training teachers for using technology. Journal of Staff Development, 19(1), 10-13. Brown, S. A. (1998). A field study of computer coordinators as change agents in three elementary schools. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. Bushweller, K. (1996). How mighty is your wizard? American School Board Journal, 183, A14-A16. Cappuccio, D. (1996). Know the types: Sizing up support staffs. Retrieved January 31, 2003, from http://www.verber.com/mark/sysadm/staffing-cappuccio.htm Carter, K. (1997). Who does what in your district ... and why. Technology and Learning, 17(7), 30-36. Center on Education and Training for Employment. (1995). Computer (PC / network) coordinator. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University. Fuller, H. L. (2000). First teach their teachers: Technology support and computer use in academic subjects. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(4), 511537. Ginsberg, R., & McCormick, V. (1998). Computer use in effective schools. Journal of Staff Development, 19(1), 22-25. Harvey, J., & Purnell, S. (1995, March). Technology and teacher professional development. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation. Lynch, W., Hobbs, B., & Hollanders, H. (1999). Dancing on quicksand: The role of the ICT co-ordinator in the primary school. Research in Education, 62, 32-40. Marcovitz, D. M. (2000). The roles of computer coordinators in supporting technology in schools. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 8(3), 259-273. McGinty, T. (1987). Growing pains: A portrait of an emerging profession. Electronic Learning, 6(5), 18-23, 48. McLeod, S. (2002). Overworked and underpaid. Scholastic Administr@tor, 1(4), 44-45. Meltzer, J., & Sherman, T. M. (1997). Ten commandments for successful technology implementation and staff development. NASSP Bulletin, 81(585), 23-32. Meskimen, L. R. (1989). The effectiveness of the role of school-based computer coordinators as change agents in secondary school programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. Moursund, D. (1985). The computer coordinator. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education. Moursund, D. (1992). The technology coordinator. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education. Mulcahy, S. (1995, December). Providing computer support. Retrieved January 31, 2003, from http://www.utas.edu.au/docs/info/utas89/Editorial.html

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Personal and Professional Characteristics

National Association of Secondary School Principals. (2003). State development programs. Retrieved January 31, 2003, from http://www.principals.org/training/st_dev_req.html Pruitt-Mentle, D. (2000). NetTech: Shelter in the eye of the hurricane. MultiMedia Schools, 7(1), 18-23. Reilly, R. (1999). The technology coordinator: Curriculum leader or electronic janitor? MultiMedia Schools, 6(3), 38-41. Ronnkvist, A., Dexter, S. L., & Anderson, R. E. (2000, June). Technology support: Its depth, breadth, and impact in America's schools. Irvine, CA: Center for Research on Information Technology and Organizations. University of California, Irvine. Strudler, N. B. (1987). The role of school-based computer coordinators as change agents in elementary school programs. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. United States Department of Education, Planning, and Evaluation Services. (2000). Integrated studies of educational technology: Survey of district technology coordinators. Washington, DC: United States Department of Education. Vojtek, R. J. (1997). The role of computer coordinators in the implementation of the Internet as a tool for school improvement and school reform: The case of Oregon. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. Weiss, A. M. (1996). System 2000: If you can build it, can you manage it? Phi Delta Kappan, 77(6), 408-415. Young, B. (2002, August 23). Characteristics of the 100 largest public elementary and secondary school districts in the United States: 2000-01. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

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NATIONAL DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR STUDY

Personal and Professional Characteristics

Appendix A
United States Census Bureau Geographic Regions
Northeast Connecticut Maine Massachusetts New Hampshire New Jersey New York Pennsylvania Rhode Island Vermont South Alabama Arkansas Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Kentucky Louisiana Maryland Mississippi North Carolina Oklahoma South Carolina Tennessee Texas Virginia West Virginia Midwest Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Michigan Minnesota Missouri Nebraska North Dakota Ohio South Dakota Wisconsin West Alaska Arizona California Colorado Hawaii Idaho Montana Nevada New Mexico Oregon Utah Washington Wyoming

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NATIONAL DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR STUDY

Personal and Professional Characteristics

Appendix B
Survey Form
See following pages.

20

a

DISTRICT TECHNOLOGY COORDINATOR SURVEY
NCREL, CoSN, QED, University of Minnesota
a

This survey is intended for district technology coordinators. If you are not the person primarily responsible for supporting information technology in your district, please stop now and ask that person to complete this survey. Thank you. DISTRICT INFO
NAME OF SCHOOL DISTRICT Any data collected as part of this survey that could result in the identification of individual districts will be used only for data collection purposes and will not be made public without your permission. DISTRICT ZIP CODE APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF COMPUTERS IN DISTRICT

__________ FTE DISTRICT- AND SCHOOL-LEVEL TECH SUPPORT STAFF IN DISTRICT __________ FTE staff maintaining hardware, software, & networks __________ FTE staff doing employee training and staff development __________ FTE staff doing other tech support [e.g., MIS]

__________% Approximate percentage of district’s total tech support supplied by students __________% Approximate percentage of district’s total tech support supplied by outside contractors / vendors

PERSONAL / PROFESSIONAL INFO
YOUR SEX [check one] Male Female

Any data collected as part of this survey that could result in the identification of individual persons will be used only for data collection purposes and will not be made public without your permission. YOUR AGE YOUR HIGHEST DEGREE

YOUR RACE [check all that apply] White American Indian or Alaskan Native Black or African American Asian Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander Some other race

YOUR ETHNICITY [check all that apply] Hispanic or Latino Not Hispanic or Latino

YOUR FORMAL TITLE [if you hold multiple titles, please list all of them]

YOUR ANNUAL SALARY $

LENGTH OF YOUR CONTRACT [in months] months

TOTAL YEARS YOU HAVE SERVED __________ In your current position as district tech coordinator __________ In a tech support role for any K-12 educational employer [including your current position] __________ In a tech support role for other, non-K-12 employers [e.g., corporate, military, higher education, other] STRONGLY DISAGREE __________ As a classroom teacher

EMPLOYMENT CONTEXT [check one]
Adequate resources are allocated in this district for tech support. Adequate professional development opportunities are provided in this district to technology support personnel. My professional background and training are appropriate for my duties as district technology coordinator. I am satisfied in my current position as district technology coordinator. Yes Yes No No

DISAGREE

AGREE

STRONGLY AGREE

NO OPINION

Assuming that relocating was not an issue, I probably would leave this position if I were offered a position from another employer that had equal responsibilities but better pay. Assuming that relocating was not an issue, I probably would leave this position if I were offered a position from another employer that had equal pay but fewer responsibilities.

OVER

STAFFING

Any data collected as part of this survey that could result in the identification of individual persons or districts will be used only for data collection purposes and will not be made public without your permission.

This table is the heart of this survey and is intended to try and capture the complexity of technology support staffing in your school district. We understand that this table may be difficult for large districts to fill out but, to the best of your ability, please insert into the table all of your district- and school-level tech support staff, including yourself. If you have multiple employees who fit a similar profile, you may put them all in a single row as illustrated in the example response below.
Example Response (5 teachers in district; each have 1 period of release time per day; 90% of release time is spent training / working with other teachers)
Number of employees for whom this row applies 5 Total hours of professional development received this past year (on average) 24 % of total work duties spent on tech support 15 % of total tech support duties spent on… [gray columns should total 100] Planning, coordinating, management, & budgeting 0 Computer hardware & software support 10 Employee training & professional development 90

District- or school-level employee(s) [circle one] District School

Primary background / training [circle one] Education IT

Salary (average if for multiple employees) 33,500

Type of contract (administrative, teaching, or other) [circle one] Admin Teacher Other

Network support 0

Other 0

Your District (if you need more rows than are available here, additional forms can be downloaded at www.umn.edu/~mcleod/techcoordinators. Thank you.)
Number of employees for whom this row applies 1 (yourself) Total hours of professional development received this past year (on average) % of total work duties spent on tech support % of total tech support duties spent on… [gray columns should total 100] Planning, coordinating, management, & budgeting Computer hardware & software support Employee training & professional development

District- or school-level employee(s) [circle one] District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School District School

Primary background / training [circle one] Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education Education IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT IT

Salary (average if for multiple employees)

Type of contract (administrative, teaching, or other) [circle one] Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other Admin Teacher Other

Network support

Other

THANK YOU FOR COMPLETING THIS SURVEY!
Please return it in the enclosed reply envelope.

OVER

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