Supporting Student Engagement: Examining Title 1 High School Teachers’ Perceptions of Social Networking Sites as Pedagogical Tools

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Matthew Barclay

Committee Member

Valerie Storey

Committee Member

Donis Toler

Abstract

Declining student engagement has been an ongoing concern for educators, education researchers, school administration, and policymakers for the last 40 years (Axelson & Flick, 2011), with socioeconomically disadvantaged students being the most susceptible to disengagement (Finn, 1993; Jensen, 2013). The discourse surrounding declining student engagement includes exploring effective pedagogy as an intervention and influencing optimal academic development and successful school completion. Innovative pedagogical tools have been studied to provide a more engaging learning experience, evolving from chalkboards to tape recorders, projectors, computers, digital games, and the latest social networking sites (SNSs) (DeCoito & Vacca, 2020), such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Though the integration of SNSs into the curriculum in secondary education is still being fine-tuned, many educators have adopted them into their teaching strategies because of their growing popularity in society and, more recently, due to the pause in traditional learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic (Cavus et al., 2021; Iivari, 2020). However, concerns about a need for more guidelines on how SNSs should be integrated, their effectiveness, and teachers' preparedness are apparent (Pedler et al., 2020; Van Den Beemt et al., 2020). The study aimed to determine teachers' perceptions of the impact SNSs as pedagogical tools have on student engagement. A secondary purpose was to determine whether teacher perceptions of student engagement when SNSs were used as a pedagogical tool differed based on their years of experience, assignment integration, the type of SNS(s) used, and time spent per week using SNSs for varying assignments. Title 1 high school teachers were surveyed and answered a series of 5-point Likert scale questions rating their level of agreement with statements about SNSs as pedagogical tools and teachers’ perception of their impact on different engagement indicators. The sum of the responses determined a total Engagement Indicator (EI) score used for data analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to determine the perceived effect of SNSs on class-specific engagement indicators - attendance and chronic absenteeism, suspension and expulsion, socio-emotional learning, and parent engagement. One-way ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis, and post-hoc tests were run to determine whether there was a statistically significant difference in teachers' perceptions of using SNSs as pedagogical tools based on their mean EI scores for each independent variable level. These analyses showed that while most teachers in this study (51%) had perceptions below the “Agree” threshold or did not agree that SNSs increase student engagement, a sizeable percentage (49%) of teachers in this study had perceptions at or above the “Agree” threshold or agreed that SNSs positively impacted student engagement. Furthermore, when analyzing individual engagement indicators, parent engagement, attendance and chronic absenteeism, and suspension and expulsion showed that most teachers in this study perceived a positive impact on student engagement when SNSs were used in education. Additionally, the findings suggest that teachers' perceptions were significantly impacted based on their years of experience, the type of SNS used, and the time spent using SNSs in class discussions per week. This study intends to contribute to the body of research on the use of SNSs and their perceived impact on student engagement in Title 1 schools through the lens of teachers.

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