Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Michael Coquyt


rural education, SmartLab, Constructivism, Digital literacy, technology equity, digital divide


This mixed methods quasi-experimental phenomenological study investigated the impact that a SmartLab® implementation had on four rural schools in the state of North Dakota. This study featured semi structured interview questions for facilitators, semi-structured focus group questions for students, and a digital literacy pre and post assessment (DLA) that was administered to students. This study looked at student learning in terms of twenty-first century skills, teacher and student perspectives in terms of student learning as well as teacher perspectives on the impact of the SmartLab® on their own teaching methods.

Two facilitators from two of the four schools were interviewed in the fall of 2018 and again in the spring of 2019 and two student focus groups were conducted in the spring 2019. The DLA pre assessment was administered in the fall of 2018 and the post assessment was administered in the spring of 2019 at all four schools to measure any notable change in scores. A review of the literature focused on the constructivist learning theory, characteristics of successful teaching models, CLEs, constructivist teacher methods, and student learning in terms of twenty-first century skills.

Data revealed in this study indicated that there was a significant impact on student learning as a result of SmartLab® implementation as evident by focus group results, teacher interviews, as well as pre and post exam scores from the DLA. Furthermore, there were also reported impacts on teacher methods as well as perceptions of increased opportunity, equity and impact on administration and community. Finally, it was reported that specified student needs were being met as a result of SmartLab® implementation.



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