Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Jay Fogleman

Abstract

Public education in the United States must continue to connect the classroom with the mediated lives of students outside the classroom. Participation, particularly within social media platforms, provides tremendous opportunities for students but require the development of media literacies. Utilizing the New Media Literacies Framework (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton, & Robison, 2006) to connect students with the educational goal of developing their voices and encouraging civic engagement may effectively prepare students to participate in democracy. Social media platforms provide students with an opportunity to become active participants in online communities. In addition, with the appropriate guidance, participation within social media platforms can facilitate the development of skills such as judgment, networking, and negotiation, all of which are beneficial to civic engagement.

This study examines the development of New Media Literacies in students from a career and technical high school, using the social media platform Twitter. Following the creation of career-oriented Personal Learning Networks on Twitter, students will be empowered to develop their professional voice. This study designed a pedagogical approach intended to develop student voice and encourage civic engagement. Through a mixed-methodology approach, student data including size and quality of their Twitter networks, work artifacts, engagement with the Twitter community, surveys, reflections and researcher field notes were examined. The students did demonstrate progress in developing voice and, in one specific participant, high levels of PLN engagement and a positive attitude towards civic engagement was demonstrated. The findings here suggest that NML’s can facilitate student engagement on social media platforms, which helps in the development of voice. The development of voice might in fact encourage higher levels of civic engagement amongst youth.

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