Perceived familiarity, value, and use of the Florida Information Resource Network among educators in Collier County Public Schools

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

John Kleinert - Committee Chair


The primary purpose of this descriptive study was to examine to what extent the use of the Florida Information Resource Network (FIRN) and six of its applications by the account holders addressed the three goals established by FIRN and the Florida Legislature. A secondary purpose was to examine the perceived familiarity with, value of, and use of these six FIRN applications by these same account holders.A survey was administered to all 142 account holders within the school district. A structured interview was also conducted to cross-validate the results of the survey. Survey and interview results revealed that, though a substantial majority of account holders were familiar with the electronic messaging application, a large number of account holders were surprisingly unfamiliar with the other five applications. Fewer account holders valued these applications and fewer still actually used them with any degree of regularity. Respondents to the survey and interview listed the network's unfriendliness, difficulty of access, and lack of "hand's on opportunities" as reasons for not using FIRN. Findings from a Oneway Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) determined that there were significant differences in data reported by those respondents who viewed themselves as heavy, moderate, or light users of the FIRN network. These differences were due to the responses of the light (infrequent) users of the telecommunication network. Generally, those respondents who used the applications more frequently were more familiar with them and valued them more. Other findings revealed that the electronic messaging (E-mail) application was the most familiar, valued, and used of all the six applications studied. Findings also revealed that account holders used the Florida Information Resource Network extensively for professional research purposes, varying from data searches for classroom background information to formal research for graduate degree programs. Though FIRN is designed for the entire educational community in Florida, instructional, administration, and student population alike, student usage of the network was seldom noted and the real effect that FIRN has had on students in the school district could not be estimated by almost half of the respondents.Results were summarized and suggestions for future considerations by practitioners and researchers were offered.


Education, Technology of; Information Science

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