Date of Award

August 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Gail T. Schneider

Committee Members

Thomas Joynt, Thandeka Chapman, Decoteau Irby, Elise Frattura


Curriculum, Flipped Instruction, Secondary Education, Technology


Student access to the Internet has dramatically increased during the first decade of 2000. A recent study indicated that over 85% of US teens have regular access to a cell phone (Rideout et al., 2010). The cell phone coupled with an Internet plan has created the smart phone. This technology allows students to decide when and where they want to learn. This new connectedness has created a new phenomenon for classroom teachers; the ability to connect with their students in a 24/7 environment. This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of five urban/suburban teachers in the Metro-Milwaukee area who routinely connect with kids 24/7 for educational purposes to examine what the impact of this phenomenon has on the teachers.

The significance of this study was to shed light on the experiences of teachers who use technology to teach students when and where the students are ready to learn. There has been little or no research on this phenomenon given the newness of the technology. The teachers' stories shed light on their experiences using a variety of software products to connect with students in an effort to increase student engagement and achievement. This study examined five high schools and is not generalizable to all high schools.

The findings of this study revealed that teachers and students find a benefit to being able to connect with each other outside of the traditional classroom. Five themes, Connections; Firm Boundaries; Support - Administrative and Technological; Staff Development Needed; and The Evolving Classroom, and seventeen sub-themes were explored to determine implications for practice. Six implications for practice were identified: establishment of boundaries, time commitment needed, administrative and technological support, effective and meaningful staff development, curriculum development, and policy development. The study concludes with a list of recommendations for administrators and teachers who wish to explore opportunities to connect with students in a 24/7 learning environment.