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Obstacles to Using Social Media in Education : An Interview Study on the Perspectives of Language Teachers in a Finnish Elementary School

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Title: Obstacles to Using Social Media in Education : An Interview Study on the Perspectives of Language Teachers in a Finnish Elementary School
Author(s): Siikaniemi, Venla
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Degree program: Master's Programme in English Studies
Specialisation: no specialization
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
School-aged children spend an ever-increasing amount of time on social media platforms. Bringing this aspect of students’ lives into the school world has not advanced with the same velocity. The aim of this study was to investigate which obstacles teachers face to implementing social media into their lessons. Previous studies show that there are more advantages to using social media in education than there are disadvantages. The Finnish National Core Curriculum (2014) does not mention social media, but it mentions Information and Communications Technology, multiliteracy and media literacy. Social media can be associated with all the areas mentioned. Many studies published by Finland’s National Board for Education also recommend using social media or its equivalents in schools. In this study the perceptions of five language teachers in an elementary school in Helsinki, Finland were investigated. The teachers were interviewed separately and the interviews were recorded. The data gathered was transcribed and then analyzed by way of qualitative content analysis. The results of the analysis show that according to teachers many obstacles exist. These include the amount of time it would take to find content that fits the purpose of the lessons, the lack of mobile devices and accounts provided by the employer (in this case the city of Helsinki) and the lack of easily accessible and simple guidelines on how to utilize social media in teaching. In the future, similar research on the educational implementation of social media in lower secondary school and high school is needed. It is important to clarify which guidelines steer teachers’ actions, and how much freedom individual teachers have. An easily accessible and straightforward guide on data protection and copyright issues is needed. More research on how teachers could overcome these obstacles would benefit the students of tomorrow.
Keyword(s): social media education elementary school teaching extramural English motivation

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