Language Today: Promoting ELA Content Area Learning through Collaboratively Engaged Social Media Practice
Best Practices in Teaching Digital Literacies
ISBN: 978-1-78754-434-5, eISBN: 978-1-78754-551-9
Publication date: 17 September 2018
Purpose – To examine the potential social media has for increasing pre-service English language arts (ELA) teachers’ language interest, awareness, and content knowledge by engaging them in an ongoing collaborative effort to seek out, make observation about, and highlight contemporary examples of language, literacy, and culture in action in global media using Twitter as a platform.
Design – The research design was qualitative and included a thematic analysis of Twitter posts from the pre-service teacher participants during the semester, informal feedback about the experience during the semester, and written reflections at the end of the semester. Students worked independently on the assignment throughout the semester, outside of a few brief, and informal check-ins during class by the instructor. At the end of the semester, students completed an open-ended survey to reflect on their experiences with and takeaways from participating in this Twitter-based language exploration activity. The theoretical frameworks that were foundational to the study included the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK) framework (Koehler & Mishra, 2008) and Andrews’ (2006) criteria for language exploration and awareness.
Findings – The findings of this qualitative study indicate that engaging pre-service teachers in an ongoing collaborative effort to promote language, literacy, and culture via social media has great potential in terms of students increasing not only their knowledge of language and language awareness, but also their TPACK overall. Specific examples of how participants responded to the experience are provided.
Practical Implications – This study contributes to the literature on the potential impact of social media on content area learning and teacher preparation by providing concrete, research-based suggestions for how both English teacher educators and middle and secondary ELA teachers can engage in collaborative efforts to learn more about, expand definitions of, and promote aspects related to ELA content, like language awareness, variety, and dialect. It includes recommendations for both teacher educators and middle and secondary ELA teachers to expand their notions for defining and teaching aspects of language that go beyond a narrow focus on grammar and to consider ways that social media and digital literacies can enhance these efforts.
Young, C.A., Filson, N. and Debnam-O’Dea, R. (2018), "Language Today: Promoting ELA Content Area Learning through Collaboratively Engaged Social Media Practice", Ortlieb, E., Cheek, E.H. and Semingson, P. (Ed.) Best Practices in Teaching Digital Literacies (Literacy Research, Practice and Evaluation, Vol. 9), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 169-193. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2048-045820180000009010
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