Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Debra C. Piecka

Abstract

Social media for personal use has evolved rapidly among adolescents, changing the way they communicate with each other. However, little research has been conducted about how teachers use social media in the classroom to improve student learning. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe how social presence on Twitter impacts student engagement and learning when a mathematics teacher integrates this social media tool into an instructional unit. The conceptual framework was based on social presence theory developed by Short, Williams, and Christie. This qualitative study used a single case study design. Participants included 6 students and 1 classroom teacher in a Grade 8 mathematics course at a public middle school in a Canadian province. Data were collected from multiple sources including individual interviews, reflective journal responses from the teacher and students, documents such as course standards, and artifacts such as student tweets. Data were analyzed in the following way: interview and reflective journal data were coded for categories using the constant comparative method, and documents and artifacts were reviewed to identify emergent themes and discrepant data. Findings for this study indicated that Twitter had a positive impact on student engagement and learning of data management concepts. This study contributes to positive social change by providing a deeper understanding of how social media tools such as Twitter encourage students to create communities of learners to support each other during the learning process.