Date of Conferral







Patricia Mc Gee


Secondary teachers and college instructors use social media to engage their students in learning; however, little is known about middle school teachers' use. The problem is that although middle school students intuitively use social media in their personal lives, it is unclear why and how teachers use it for instructional purposes with learners who are assumed to be digitally literate. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the extent to which eight middle school teachers from two schools in one school district used social media with students for teaching. The two conceptual frameworks used for this study were Davis’s technology acceptance model, and Koehler and Mishra’s technological pedagogical content knowledge model. The research questions asked why and how middle school teachers used social media for student engagement and learning. Data from semi structured interviews with teachers and lesson plans were analyzed using verbatim coding to identify final codes, categories, and themes. The key findings indicated that teachers attributed their use of social media to the learners’ needs and were influenced both by administrators and their observations of other teachers using social media. Teachers created opportunities for students to actively collaborate, discuss, explore, practice, and work independently, which put students at the center of their own learning and teachers as the facilitators and support system throughout the learning process. The results of this study provide teachers and school leaders with knowledge about the use of social media to foster autonomy in learning for middle school students.