A Study of the Implementation of Digital Textbooks in Middle Schools

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brandy Kamm, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Donna Hawkins, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Wanda Fernandapulle, Ed.D.


A phenomenological study was designed to describe the lived experience of middle-school teachers and administrators involved in the implementation of digital texts in sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade classrooms. Eleven middle school teachers and six administrators from one school district in southern New Jersey volunteered to participate in face-to-face interviews. The data were coded for themes and analyzed using the digital use divide as a framework. Digital text use existed on a continuum from limited use in a teacher-centered environment to paperless classrooms and student-centered instruction. First-year teachers who had little or no training used the digital text and the print text interchangeably in a teacher-centered environment, allowing students to choose between formats. Teachers who had more experience and training tended to use the digital text more frequently, using the print text as a backup for times when technology was unavailable. Experienced teachers used more outsourced materials to support a student-centered approach to instruction. Regardless of their level of experience using a digital textbook, teachers and administrators acknowledged a need to increase students’ use of technology to support independent learning. The lack of interactive elements in the digital texts made it difficult for some teachers to meet administrator expectations, thereby prolonging the digital divide.

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