Date Awarded

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Judi Harris

Committee Member

Leslie Grant

Committee Member

Karen Richardson


Although many researchers have examined the ways teachers learn about technology integration along formal pathways, much less is understood about teachers’ informal and incidental technology-related learning. In this study, I examined selected teachers’ technology-related learning, focusing on their informal learning, which is planned learning that happens along unstructured routes, and incidental learning, which is unplanned learning that occurs by happenstance (Marsick & Watkins, 2001). Using a phenomenological research approach (Vagle, 2014), I generated data through observing, surveying, and interviewing seven teachers. I then analyzed the data, coding by discrete idea, memo-writing, reflexive journaling, and, during later stages, charting emerging results. Participants varied in years of teaching experience (4 years to more than 30 years); certifications held (special, elementary, and gifted education; secondary math; world languages; and Career and Technical Education); and grade levels taught (pre-K through 12th). Three taught in schools with active professional learning communities. All were integrating technology in classroom-based teaching and learning, at least to some extent. These teachers’ experiences suggested several tentative conclusions related to the phenomenon of informal and incidental technology-related learning. Namely, it is: frequent and happens both within and across grade levels, content areas, and teaching contexts; sensitive to the pressures of time; fostered by formal organizational supports; influenced by teaching contexts, including physical spaces and professional learning cultures; and driven by teachers’ learning preferences, in that both technology-avoidant and technology-savvy teachers might avoid technology-related learning that does not align with perceived learning needs and preferences. I have also included a series of recommendations for educational leaders at the building and district level and in the field of educational technology, relative to these findings.



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