Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler School of Education


Carolyn S. Buckenmaier

Committee Member

Patricia Heiselberg


Educational technology


Effects of Limited Technology and Internet Access Within a Low Income, Rural Community. Tracey Y. Stewart, 2014: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Abraham S. Fischler School of Education. ERIC Descriptors: At Risk Students, Career Readiness, College Readiness, Internet, Technology

This phenomenological study was implemented within a rural community in the southeastern area of the United States. The purpose of the study was to examine perceptions of prior graduates in order to identify specific effects of limited technology and Internet access in public schools. No related investigation has occurred within the research setting. To achieve this purpose, the researcher acquired perceptual data from 33 adults who attended the local high school during School Years 2003-2004 through 2012-2013. Data were collected through the administration of an anonymous questionnaire.

Several primary findings were derived from the study. First, although participants did not perceive limited access to technology and Internet access while in high school, the collective perception was that technology was minimally integrated within high school instruction and that the high school experience insufficiently prepared students for the role of technology within the college setting. Second, technology was not fully utilized for acquiring information involving college or career selection. Third, participants reported the lack of availability or dependability of Internet service in the rural areas.

Recommendations for educational practice, based on findings of the study, are to provide professional development for all teachers within the high school to increase the integration of technology within instruction and to provide professional development for teachers and school guidance counselors for the purpose of increasing the use of technology when assisting students in acquiring college and career information. Recommendations for future research, also based on findings, are (a) to determine how participants acquired a high level of technology skill for college with the limited use of technology in high school and the minimal Internet access within homes, (b) to engage in further research to assist school guidance counselors in acquiring the skills to recognize and provide initial treatment involving the onset of Internet addiction among students, and (c) for city council members and leaders within the private sector to research possible options for acquiring more dependable Internet service within the outlying rural areas so that all residents can enjoy the potential benefits of current technology.

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