Date of Conferral
Lucy K. Abernathy
Social media has provided innovative ways for teachers to engage students in the learning process but has created a challenge for teachers to incorporate these applications in a manner that is both meaningful to the learning objectives and acceptable to their administration. While social media in education has been the focus of many studies, research on the implementation of social media within English language arts (ELA) classrooms is limited, leaving ELA teachers and school administrators without a full scope of the educational potential or best practices when using social media for instruction. Accordingly, this study explored the experiences of secondary ELA teachers using social media as an instructional tool. Using a basic qualitative design, this investigation was framed by the concepts of connectivism and convergence culture. The study employed in-depth interviews of 9 teachers chosen through a purposeful sampling of ELA teachers within the United States. Data analysis began with a priori coding of the interview transcripts based on the conceptual framework, followed by a secondary analysis through in vivo coding. The results indicated that social media networks provided teachers with an engaging and relevant approach to connect their content and instruction to students' lives. Results also revealed that while the teachers faced challenges similar to those noted in previous research, these challenges were viewed as opportunities to teach digital literacy within the ELA content rather than as a deterrent. The results of this study may allow teachers to use social media networks as educational tools in alignment with instructional practices to improve student performance.