To read this content please select one of the options below:

The development and impact of team-based school technology leadership

Sara Dexter (Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)
Emily A. Barton (Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 6 April 2021

Issue publication date: 2 June 2021




The authors tested the efficacy of a team-based instructional leadership intervention designed to increase middle school mathematics and science teachers' use of educational technologies for multiple representations of content to foster students' conceptual understandings. Each school's leadership team comprised an administrator, a technology instructional specialist role, and a mathematics and a science teacher leader.


The authors tested the intervention in a quasi-experimental design with five treatment and five matched comparison schools. Participants included 48 leadership team members and 100 grade 6–8 teachers and their students. The authors analyzed data using two-level, nested multiple regressions to determine the effect of treatment on leaders' practices; leaders' practices on teachers' learning and integration; and teachers' learning and integration on students' learning. Leaders and teachers completed monthly self-reports of practices; students completed pre- and post-tests of knowledge in science and math.


Significant treatment effects at the leader, teacher and student levels establish the efficacy of this team-based approach to school leadership of an educational technology integration innovation. Leaders at treatment schools participated in a significantly higher total frequency and a wider variety of leadership activities, with large effect sizes. Teachers participated in a significantly wider variety of learning modes focused on technology integration and integrated technology significantly more frequently, with a wider variety of technologies, all with moderate effect sizes. Students in treatment schools significantly outperformed students in comparison schools in terms of science achievement but not in mathematics.

Research limitations/implications

The overall sample size is small and the approach to participant recruitment did not allow for randomized assignment to the treatment condition. The authors tested the influence of treatment on leader practices, on teacher practices, and on student achievement. Future work is needed to identify the core components of treatment that influence practice and investigate the causal relationships between specific leaders' practices, teacher practices and student achievement.


This study establishes the efficacy of a replicable approach to developing team-based instructional leaders addressing educational technology. It contributes to the knowledge base about how district leaders and leadership educators might foster school leaders' instructional leadership, and more specifically technology leadership capacity.



This research was supported by grant RFA R305A110913 from the Institute for Education Sciences, United States Department of Education. The conclusions reported here reflect the judgment of the authors and not that organization. The authors wish to thank Melissa Anderson Morgan, Catherine Cizsek, and Michael Hull for their help with data collection and analysis and implementing the intervention upon which this manuscript is based.


Dexter, S. and Barton, E.A. (2021), "The development and impact of team-based school technology leadership", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 59 No. 3, pp. 367-384.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles