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A New Role in Facilitating School Reform: The Case of the Educational Technologist


by Judith Davidson — 2003

School reform advocates have been frustrated over the slow pace of integrating proposed school improvements, hypothesizing that the resiliency of established roles contributes much to the conserving tendencies of educational institutions. In seeking to understand this issue, the school reform movement has paid close attention to established roles, such as teachers and principals, and the issues these individuals face as they seek to address change. They have paid relatively little attention, however, to the emergence of new roles. The educational technologist (ET) is a role that is growing rapidly within schools in conjunction with the widespread adoption of networked technology. Looking back over 6 years of research data from a qualitative research study of networked technology integration in one K–12 system, the author examines the emergence of the ET role from the classical sociological perspectives of social structure, space, and time and its relationship to the cluster of core positions. This study demonstrates the importance of role to school reform issues, indicating that it can be used as a critical lens for understanding the progress of reform and the nature of technology integration.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 5, 2003, p. 729-752
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11138, Date Accessed: 10/20/2017 5:50:34 PM

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About the Author
  • Judith Davidson
    University of Massachusetts at Lowell
    E-mail Author
    JUDITH DAVIDSON is an assistant professor in the Leadership in Schooling Program of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She is a qualitative researcher with interest in the ways educators manage change in varying educational settings. The author of Living Reading: Exploring the Lives of Reading Teachers, an ethnographic study of reading teachers and the ways they construct literacy within their professional organizations, she has recently completed research that focuses on technology integration K–12 as systemic reform. Using data from this study, the Hessen Model School Partnership, in ‘‘A New Role in Facilitating School Reform: The Case of the Educational Technologist’’ Davidson uses the classical sociological tools of role, time, and space to examine the ways that a new school role is formed (the educational technologist) and the impact that the process of formation has on the traditional structure of school roles. In this article the author demonstrates the critical nature of role formation processes in school reform initiatives and suggests that a richer understanding of these processes would have benefit to those engaged with reform implementation, as well as those concerned with measuring the penetration of reform initiatives.
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