Research

Research Interests

  • Educational Technology
  • Educational Data Mining
  • Social Media
  • Distance education
  • Integration of Technology in K12 classrooms
  • Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK)
  • Any technology that enhances learning in the elementary school classroom

Educational Technology

Definition

Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources (AECT).

Master's Thesis

Uses and Gratifications of Temporary Social Media: A Comparison of Snapchat and Facebook

This thesis compares the uses and gratifications of Snapchat versus Facebook Snapchat is considered a form of temporary social media because it is based on user generated content disappearing after a specified timeframe. This temporality is contrary to Facebook and other forms of social media that create a series of asynchronous online interactions that are more enduring.  Undergraduate students were surveyed in order to better understand their motivations to join, gratifications obtained, and frequency of use regarding each medium. Results of this study indicated that undergraduates were motivated to join Facebook to increase networking and motivated to join Snapchat because it enticed their curiosity and their friends are on it. Students reported greater gratifications from Snapchat than Facebook in all categories including modality, agency, interactivity, navigability, and privacy. This study provides insight into the growing popularity of temporary social media platforms. Gender differences and usage trends were also explored.  Females were shown to have greater motivations to join Facebook and Snapchat to monitor the lives of family, friends and others. Males had higher motivations to join Facebook to network and meet new people. Undergraduates’ Snapchat and Facebook use was positively associated with the agency gratification category. Undergraduates’ Facebook update frequency was negatively associated with the privacy gratification category. Privacy was isolated as a viable social media gratification, which shows its influence on social media users need to update. Temporary social media enables undergraduates to communicate more privately. Therefore, this study serves as a pioneering investigation of temporary social media. It also expanded current literature about Facebook’s uses and gratifications for younger adult segments.

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Doctoral Dissertation

Teachers' End-User Attitudes toward the Implementation of School-Based Social Networking Sites in K-8 Schools: An Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model

Advancement in technologies, such as smartphones and social networking sites (SNSs), are transforming traditional school-based communication in education. School-based SNSs are a web-based system that enables administrators and teachers to (1) create or join a semi-public online school community within a bounded system, (2) construct a virtual classroom with individual student profiles, or avatars, (3) invite parents and guardians to create a profile and link with their child’s profile, (4) and communicate with students, parents, and guardians about students’ school experiences using the classroom management and communication platform. ClassDojo, a school-based SNS, has over three million teachers and 35 million students using the platform (Williamson, 2017a). Teachers create and manage the virtual community; therefore, it is crucial to understand teachers’ end-user attitudes towards adopting school-based SNSs. An extension of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) examined K-8 teachers’ end-user attitudes to integrate school-based SNSs in United States’ primary and middle schools. The TAM’s foundation, extensions, and correlation to teachers’ attitudes towards technology presented as an ideal model to ground the study. Thus, using theoretical and empirical studies related to teachers’ adoption of technology and SNSs, this research study extended TAM using the following factors: (1) perceived usefulness (PU), (2) perceived ease of use (PEOU), (3) security awareness (SA), (4) subjective norm (SN), (5) attitude toward using SNSs (ATT), and (6) intention to use SNSs (ITU). TAM research traditionally relies on obtaining self-reported data from participants through survey.

This survey-research collected data from 264 kindergarten to eighth-grade teachers throughout the United States. The survey data was used to analyze descriptive statistics between TAM variables, as well as perform path analyses on the relationships between the TAM variables. In this study, the TAM was extended to include subjective norm (SN) and security awareness (SA). In summary, a majority of K-8 teachers had a generally favorable attitude about ClassDojo’s: (1) perceived usefulness, (2) perceived ease of use, (3) security awareness, (4) subjective norm, (5) attitude towards use, and (6) intention to use. Path analysis with latent factors utilized multiple regressions to assess the direct and indirect influences of variables within a model (Hatcher, 2013). The extended TAM model was reliable and illustrated that seven out of the eight path analyses were statistically significant. Teachers’ attitudes towards ClassDojo use had the most statistically significant influence on teachers’ intentions to use ClassDojo. Similar to findings from traditional TAM studies, perceived usefulness had the largest statistically significant influence on teachers’ attitudes toward ClassDojo use. A thematic analysis of teachers’ comments about ClassDojo provided support for the extended TAM path analysis. In conclusion, this study synthesized other TAM variables to establish, the Teacher Technology Acceptance Model of Social Networking Sites (T-TAMS), to identify and explore factors that positively influenced K-8 teachers’ end-user attitudes towards school-based SNSs use. Lastly, limitations and future research were presented. This study advanced research on teachers’ TAM of SNSs, teachers’ end-user attitudes toward ClassDojo, and school-based communication. Thus, these findings can be used to boost ClassDojo’s adoption rates among K-8 schools in the United States.