This qualitative phenomenological study examines the lived experiences of six educators who have earned titles (e.g. Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Innovator, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert) and participated in technology vendor-sponsored professional development programs. The theoretical lens of identity was used to understand educators’ experiences and status change upon earning prestigious titles. Specifically, this study aimed to better understand how educators’ interactions and participation in these programs shaped the trajectory of their professional lives and teaching practice with regard to technology integration. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed following a transcendental phenomenology process in order to describe the lived experiences of all participants by reducing individual experiences to a collective story. Results from this study help to fill a gap in the literature concerning professional development programs sponsored by technology-vendors and what participation in them entails by providing first-hand accounts of classroom educators’ experiences. Little research has focused on this phenomenon and results reveal how educators position their experiences relative to traditional district professional development opportunities. Educators' accounts also offer further insight into their attitudes, beliefs, and motivation for competitively pursuing participation in these programs and how these experiences have transformed their teaching and mentoring practices. Furthermore, results highlight the advantages of school and business partnerships to support professional learning by providing a better understanding of how these programs are structured and describing specific innovative strategies being implemented that can benefit the field of education.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Career development -- Computer-assisted instruction; Corporate sponsorship -- Education; Educational technology; Teachers -- Training of

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Fusco Kledzik, Judith;