Instructional Technology: An Alternative Solution to Promoting Achievement in Remote Rural High Schools

Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


The inauguration of federal government policies assuring that all students attending public schools in the United States have equal access to a highly qualified education, sparked national attention on improving the performance of rural schools and districts. Consequently, one in ten students is educated in remote school districts, and a large number of remote rural districts serve students that are minorities and poor. In many instances, the talents and abilities of the students served in rural schools and districts are less likely developed or noticed when compared to urban and suburban school districts. For administrators of remote rural high schools, finding ways that provided a quality education, often, had to come at a low cost. Since, the use of technology for instruction are cost efficient, effective and had the potential to replace or supplement traditional classroom instruction; many remote rural schools found its use promising (Irvin, Hannum, Banks, Farmer & Keane, 2009). The purpose of this study was to explain the extent to which using instructional technology influenced the operation of an isolated rural high school and the extent to which, technology impacts student achievement. The study focused on one relative isolated rural public high school located in the southern part of the United States, which served students in grades nine- through twelve, regular and special education, and compulsory programs. A qualitative case study method that used instruments such as interviews, observations, documents, and archival records collected data for the study. The data collected enabled the researcher to capture and provide a rich description of the events that occurred at the site in an effort to answer two central research questions; a) given the relative isolation and limited access to resources faced by rural, isolated high schools, to what extent does the use of technology influence the operation of the school? b) To what extent does the use of technology in isolated rural high schools impacts students’ achievement? Themes identified from the analysis of findings were (a) the culture and climate of the school, (b) the role of instructional technology, (c) the outcomes of using instructional technology, and (d) resource requirements. Findings of data revealed that the practice of incorporating technology in an isolated rural high to manage the school and for teaching and learning yielded positive results. Results of findings indicated that technology had positively influenced the school culture and climate, enhanced the proficiency of the operational practices of the school, and improved the effectiveness of the instructional practices of the school. The incorporation of instructional technology had a positive impact on the student achievement. The school experienced an improvement in the student academic behavior, preparation for college, preparation life, and credentials for careers.

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