An exploration into the pedagogical benefits of using social media: can educators incorporate social media into pedagogy successfully?

  • Ryan Williams

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Social media and social networking sites have become popular across governments,
enterprises, and non-profit making organisations. Nevertheless, education has evidenced
conflicting views around the role that social media ought to play in pedagogy. This thesis
examines whether or not social media can be incorporated into pedagogy successfully. The
research aims are to examine the current relationship between social media and pedagogy, to
identify factors that influence teacher engagement, and to determine whether or not social
media can make an impact on student engagement and performance. The study is underpinned
by Trowler’s (2008) socio-cultural theory and the research is based on a mixed methods
approach. I applied a phase of online quantitative surveys that were analysed using descriptive
statistics and two subsequent phases of interviews that were analysed thematically. I adopted
purposeful sampling to recruit 434 secondary teachers with QTS to participate in the study.
The results show that there is little meaningful, transformative professional development in
schools in respect of using social media for pedagogy (Kennedy 2005; 2014). I argue that CPD
in schools should focus on developing pedagogical strategies with technology as opposed to
focusing on the technology in its own right. Furthermore, teachers’ reflections indicated that
the differences between the social media platforms are profound; thus, grouping them together
can become problematic. In other words, YouTube’s functionality is applied in an opposite
way to Twitter’s and with different audiences. Additionally, the study has uncovered a lack of
thought towards applying technology in education policymaking, and this became problematic
for schools during the U.K. lockdown. The study’s major themes illuminate the challenges
involved with successfully embedding technology in education, particularly social media.
Date of Award27 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Teesside University
SupervisorEwan Ingleby (Supervisor) & Clive Hedges (Supervisor)

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