Pre-Service Teachers’ Use of Social Media for Academic Purposes
thesisposted on 17.07.2019, 08:43 by Konstantina Kontopoulou
This thesis presents the findings of a qualitative study that was conducted in the context of pre-service teachers in Greece. The study explores how pre-service teachers use social media for academic purposes on their own initiative. Different methods were employed for the collection of data, with semi-structured interviews being the main data collection method. The rich data obtained from 36 pre-service teachers allowed for a complex picture of social media use to emerge. The findings suggest that participants used an array of social media to ‘survive’ their teacher education courses and develop their student identities. At the same time, they used social media to prepare for their transition into their future profession. Through social media participants engaged in social capital building with their existing networks and loose assemblages of people that consisted of their peers and future colleagues. The study discusses the benefits derived from this use of social media. The importance of non-active participation and the building of latent ties is also highlighted. Finally, the thesis presents a framework that aims to link the key concepts that informed the study, both deductively and inductively, and forms my contribution to knowledge. The importance of recognising overlapping boundaries between personal and academic purposes when conceptualising the use of social media, and acknowledging participants’ messy realities is stressed. The study contributes to existing literature by providing in-depth qualitative data of the voluntary ways in which participants used social media for both course-related and profession- related purposes. Based on the findings, the thesis presents theoretical and practical implications for initial teacher education institutions, as well as recommendations for future research into pre-service teachers’ social media use.