Social media use and potential in formal and informal science learning: a multiple case study of three Palestinian educational institutions
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AbstractThis study explores the extent to which social media tools and resources are used in formal and informal science education in Palestine, the influence of culture on their use and their potential to enhance educational experiences. It accordingly investigates educators’ perceptions of the use of social media in undergraduate science education and informal community learning. The conceptual framework that guided this study includes Siemens’s theory of Connectivism and Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions theory. The study adopts an exploratory multiple case-study research design. It begins with a comprehensive review and analysis of the literature, and then undertakes semi-structured interviews with 18 educators at three Palestinian educational institutions who apply different teaching modes, specifically informal community learning, formal campus learning and formal blended learning. The study uses an iterative coding process to analyse the interviews, the qualitative analysis reveals educators’ perceived affordances and limitations, and also provides insight into their concerns about the integration of social media in education. Some differences in use and perceptions were found to be connected to the nature of learning activities at each institution, along with institutional policies, assessment methods and the given science topic. Social media offers various science-related tools and resources to Palestinian students, educators and the community. It has also helped to overcome some of the challenges that confront Palestinian educators and students, including a lack of science resources and mobility restrictions. Of the cultural aspects that influence educators’ perceptions of social media and its use for educational purposes, some are found to be connected to three of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. The findings reveal other cultural aspects that are not directly connected to Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions theory, and this serves to underline that it only provides a partial or incomplete understanding of how culture influences educational technology use in the Palestinian context. Some examples demonstrate the influence of culture on some Connectivist practices in the Palestinian context. However, it is found cultural aspects exert different, and sometimes competing, influences on educators and students’ practices in online educational environments. Other factors, such as a traditional school education and a lack of digital literacy, were found to affect students’ and educators’ practices. This study provides recommendations and reflects on practical implications with the aim of benefitting educators, educational institutions and policymakers. It also considers issues related to changes at the institutions that occurred after the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
CitationMuhtaseb, R. (2022) Social media use and potential in formal and informal science learning: a multiple case study of three Palestinian educational institutions. Wolverhampton: University of Wolverhampton. http://hdl.handle.net/2436/625059
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
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