DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY AND TEACHER PREPARATION: THE INSTRUCTIONAL ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS
Trytten, Bria Klotz
University of Kansas
Curriculum and Teaching
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As social media use becomes more prevalent among teachers, it becomes vital to understand how teachers are using social media and what effects it has, if any, on teaching practices in the classroom. This study sought to explore the relationship between pre-service teachers’ use of social media and their perceptions of inquiry-based science education, an important teaching best practice. This study is unique in that it explores pre-service teachers’ use of three social media platforms—Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest—and how pre-service teachers plan to apply them to classroom education. Previous studies focused on only one social media platform, usually Twitter or Facebook. This study surveyed 113 pre-service teachers in their 3rd or 4th year of school at one of two teacher colleges. The survey employed multiple choice, open-ended, and Likert-type questions to assess pre-service teachers’ use of social media as well as their attitudes surrounding inquiry-based instruction. In order to better explain and analyze survey results, fourteen survey participants were interviewed with follow-up questions to elaborate on both social media use and inquiry attitudes. Findings indicated that the pre-service teachers used social media, and overwhelmingly Pinterest, to find lesson plans and classroom organizational ideas. Cited reasons for this practice included convenience, variety of lesson planning, and easily searchable databases. The study found statistical significance in that teachers who aspire to teach lower grade levels will turn to social media to find lesson plans more frequently than those who aspire to teach higher grade levels. The study found social media use had no statistically significant effect on the level of inquiry-based teaching that the participants aimed to achieve in their future classrooms.
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