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Browsing by Subject "WhatsApp"

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  • Brandt, Viivi (2019)
    Aims. Information and communication technologies are defined as important civics in the new curriculum and every student should have the opportunity to improve these skills. They are seen both as an instrument and as a target of learning. The increasing importance of social media in society has also remarkably increased the social media discourse. It is seen as an opportunity although it simultaneously raises fears and concerns. The previous research has focused on examining social media as a tool for learning. Less attention has been given to the opportunities it offers to building interaction between pupils and teachers. This study examines the collective interaction of a school class in WhatsApp application. The aim of the study is to find out how the role of the teacher is formed in the conversation and to approach the interaction from the third space viewpoint. In addition this research aims to locate the dissonance experienced by the researcher as a class teacher taking part in the informal interaction in social media. Methods. The data in this study is a WhatsApp discussion from the spring semester of 2016. It was not originally collected for research purposes but was selected for research at the end of the academic year. The study was attended by all 22 pupils of the class and the class teacher who later assumed the role of the researcher. The data is approached through discourse analysis with autoethnographic features that are based on the teacher’s experience in researching her own practice. This analysis utilized both data-driven and theory-driven analysis. The framework of the analysis is based on Gutiérres et al. (1995) theory of a third space by means of building the conditions of a third space. This concept worked as a middle level analytical tool. The experienced dissonance was located using the concepts of agency and especially the contradiction of control – agency as well as through the dialectics of the epistemic and the existential dimensions of being a teacher. Results and conclusions. Pupils were active agents in the interaction. They were more active in initiating and participating in discussions than the class teacher whose role was emphasized by the existential dimension of being a teacher. The teacher appeared as an equal participant in the conversation. The WhatsApp conversation acted as a third space and building this space required the abandonment of traditional institutional interaction. WhatsApp application worked as an interesting mediator that enabled the subjects of the study to build their interaction in a new way. The dissonance was placed in the dialectics of control - agency and balancing between the existential and epistemic dimensions of teaching. This study helps to see the opportunities of interaction in social media and reveals the challenges it brings from the teachers point of view. It also points out the importance of the teachers presence.