Using Microblogging as a Social Media Tool for Discussions in Higher Education Classrooms

Kathryn V. Dixon, April Sanders, Rebecca S. Putman

Abstract


Through this qualitative study, researchers explored how preservice teachers’ roles and functions vary when participating in both instructor-directed and student-directed microblogging discussions about children’s literature on the microblogging platform, Todays Meet. Preservice teachers from three universities participated in an instructor-directed within university microblogging (WUM) discussion as well as a student-led across university microblogging (AUM) discussion with preservice teachers from the other two universities. The researchers developed a three-pronged framework based on the work of Java et al. (2007), Ebner and Maurer (2008), and Gao et al. (2012) to analyze the microblogging interactions in the WUM and AUM groups. Findings revealed that the AUM discussions tended to have more depth and moved away from the provided questions. Additionally, the participants demonstrated all the functions and roles of the microblogging framework in the AUM opposed to the WUM where several were absent. In this study, microblogging provided an opportunity for an interactive experience and the social construction of knowledge among preservice teachers.


Keywords


social media; higher education; microblogging

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Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, USA, The Journal of Social Media in Society is sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal and Fine Arts, Education, Business Administration, and Graduate Studies.