Donna Gronn

Date of Submission



Despite considerable expenditure by school systems on ICT in terms of hardware, software, and related professional development programs, the impact on classroom practice remains disappointing to many. Current models of teacher professional learning in ICT appear to have had minimal impact. Based in the interpretative paradigm, this thesis describes the experience of the participants in a unique professional development program in which students in Grades 3 and 4 mentored teachers in their school in the use of ICT. The study was undertaken in two schools in Melbourne, Australia, and involved the professional development of teachers in the use of digital cameras and related software. Following their initial training with the researcher in one school and a focus teacher in another, the children worked in pairs to conduct three semi-structured sessions with a teacher, mentoring them in the use of the technology. The children were also available to the teachers for further consultation or assistance. It was intended that the mentoring program would enhance teachers' knowledge of the technology and also their classroom practice. This thesis reports the benefits of student mentors in ICT as seen by teacher mentees involved in the project. In particular, the focus of this study is on the teachers' perceived effect of the student mentoring approach to professional development in relation to their skills and confidence with ICT, their classroom practice with ICT and their recognition of other values inherent in the program. Data were collected throughout the project in the form of surveys, interviews, observations and student and teacher journals. Using NVivo, these data were analysed into themes to ascertain teachers' reported benefits of the program in relation to their skills, confidence and classroom practice with ICT.;Findings of the project included the improvement in teachers' skills and confidence and an impact on their thinking and practices with technology in the classroom. As well as these intended outcomes, teachers also reported a greater knowledge of their personal learning preferences, which influenced the way they saw the children's learning and therefore their classroom practice. Child mentors flourished in the mentoring relationships, showing their prowess in mentoring teachers with ICT, with several surprising their teachers with their capabilities. Overall, the teachers were very positive about the mentoring experience and the influence it had on their confidence, skills and classroom practice. This study showed the potential impact of children as mentors of teachers in ICT, and offers a model for consideration by schools and school systems in the way in which they approach professional learning in ICT of their teachers.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


277 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Faculty of Education