School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Jerry Woodbridge


Digital Immigrant Teachers, In-service Training, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Professional Development, Professional Learning, Technology Integration, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) research study was to describe and interpret the digital integration learning experiences of digital immigrant teachers at a southeastern United States school system. Digital immigrant teachers represent a large segment of the teachers in American classrooms. Digital immigrant teachers desire to be effective educators in today’s digital technology-rich classrooms, yet they have struggled due to a lack of technological knowledge and with knowing how to effectively integrate digital tools in their practices. Theories that guided this study were constructivism and Mishra and Koehler’s TPACK, a conceptual knowledge framework that considers technological knowledge to be an integral part a teacher’s knowledge base for learning how to integrate technology in their instructional practices. A questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups interviews provided a thick, rich description of digital immigrant teachers educational journey into a world full of digital technologies. Data was analyzed using the IPA research framework developed by Jonathan A. Smith. Findings revealed digital technology integration has two sides to its coin, and current in-service technology-focused professional development (PD) has been inconsistent in meeting of the needs of these adult learners. A learner-focused in-service PD approach was recommended to help teachers purposefully integrate digital technology. Recommendations for further research were to replicate the study with other groups of digital immigrant teachers, to study the lived experiences of PD designers and trainers, and to comprehensively study the full impact of the digital technologies on today’s learners due to concerns voiced by these teachers.