Making Sense of Social Media Use in University Studies
Valūnaitė Oleškevičienė, Giedrė
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The aim of the present research is to investigate the phenomenon of social media use in university studies based on its participants’ lived experience by researching how university study participants: teachers, students and administrators make sense of social media use in university studies through their own lived experience. The meaning is revealed through exploration of teacher, student and administrator personal stories of social media use in university studies. Qualitative inductive content analysis by Elo and Kyngas (2007) was chosen as a core method for this PhD research. This method was integrated with the phenomeonlogical hermeneutics by Lindseth and Norberg (2004). The research revealed multiple dimensions of the phenomenon. It should be noted, that due to the power of dualistic perception the practical dimension of the phenomenon represents positive effects and contradictions of social media use in university studies. However, the contradictions acquire binary Janus-faced characteristic of uncertainty and paradox when social media use in university studies demonstrates unintended consequences. Social media use in university studies also causes changes in experiencing time, space and relations which acquire new (both positive and negative) meaning. The essential themes of the phenomenon embrace human creativity and pedagogical relationship which essentially belong to human living world not to technology world. The research participants experience spatiality as social media space used for various activities related to teaching and learning which causes the changing perception or the redefinition of the working place. It is acutely felt by the teacher research participants that their time is sometimes perceived as stress or additional load, especially time devoted for mastering social media or answering the avalanche of student questions which shows that social media use in university studies demands a new approach to teacher workload and its regulation. There also stands out the necessity of sensitive democratic teacher – student pedagogical relationship characteristic of cooperative atmosphere, acknowledging students multitasking, facilitating student activities, flexibility, tolerance, preference of informal communication. The research proves that pedagogical relationship and human creativity are still at heart of technological “cyborgian” existence.