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Facebook as an alternative to learning management system for tertiary teaching and learning purposes in a Malaysian university.

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Chapter 1

 INTRODUCTION

“How do I properly use Facebook in the classroom? What are the golden Facebook rules for teachers? How can as a teacher utilize Facebook in the classroom?”

  • Pappas

 

According to Pappas (2013), these are the common questions that serve as a challenge to a teacher who is handling 21st century learners. He further stated that most students from kindergarten up to university would rather socialize than study.  He then suggested why not meet them on their own ground by using Facebook as an interactive learning tool. He enthused teachers to bring learning to an area in which students enjoy using by including Facebook as part of their class culture. He concluded that not only will instructors engage students, but they will also teach them how to responsibly use social media.  Thus, he added that in our age of fast-paced technology, it is important to properly include social media sites like Facebook in a meaningful, professional, and engaging way that reaches every learner and encourages inclusion and participation.

Undeniably, social network sites (SNSs) like Facebook have become conventional in the lives of young adults around the world. In an article written by Rose (2014), technological tools like Facebook can provide opportunities for ESL (English as a Second Language) students to become involved with English-speaking communities outside of the language classroom. However, it is unclear what value these students might place on Facebook in relation to their English learning, especially within the context of an intensive English program (IEP).

In line with this, Bumgardner and Knestis (2011) posted that social networking has quickly transformed how people of all ages work, play and shop—and even how we elect presidents. They added that the 2010 Pew Study illustrated that it has become an integral part of the world beyond K to 12 schools. It was also cited that in the two years prior to the study, usage among millennials (ages 18 to 33) rose from 67 percent to 83 percent, every generation 45 and older more than doubled its participation, and adults 74 and older quadrupled their participation (from 4 percent to 16 percent).

According to Facebook official page (2015) in the Philippines, teachers use their accounts on Facebook for many purposes. One of these is to be updated on the latest announcements of their organizations, for example, the Community of Filipino English Teachers, Inc. (CoFET), Philippine Association for Teacher Education (PAFTE), and even the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED). These four organizations have their Facebook accounts to post news and updates. Another purpose is that Facebook is considered to be a virtual bulletin board in which teachers post announcements related to their subjects.

In Tagum City, most of the academic institutions situated in this place may it be a public or private regulate the use of internet in their computer laboratory as cited by Dela Peña (2012) on her quantitative study. In St. Mary’s College of Tagum, its administration had created its official website and Facebook account, for the people to be informed with the latest information of the school. With this, internet paves the way for teachers and students to use social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in having their virtual communication to post assignments and written projects, as well as to further discuss clarifications related to their subjects.

In line with this, as an English teacher, I found a need to integrate Facebook in my teaching since I observed somehow that my students tend to be more participative and active in expressing and in sharing their ideas online than in the actual classroom maybe because of their self – concept that they are afraid to be judged by the teacher or their classmates. Moreover, in the classroom, for both teacher and students, boredom is a ubiquitous feature. Many teachers turn to technology to increase participation.

However, I was concerned to compare and evaluate if my Facebooking as an English teacher is also parallel with the other educators. Also, I was eager to learn other ways in utilizing Facebook from the results of this study so that somehow I could also use the same things in having the said social media application for my classes.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this phenomenological study was to discover and understand the lived experiences of English subjects teachers in college who were using Facebook in their teaching and to explore their views on it amidst pitfalls at the University of Mindanao Tagum College, St. Mary’s College of Tagum, Inc., University of Southeastern Philippines Tagum Campus, and ACES Tagum College.

Research Questions

            This study sought to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the lived experiences of the college English teachers in

using Facebook?

  1. How do college English teachers view their lived experiences in Facebooking amidst pitfalls?

Theoretical Lens

In the advent of technological era, English Language Teaching (ELT) has found the need to shift its approaches to meet students’ interest and center of attention. The educational society that we are immersed now has also revolutionized since the innovative and numerous tools now available for both instructors and learners unlocked innumerable opportunities that improve the teaching and learning process.

Over the past few years, researchers had an increasing interest on studying the usage of Facebook. It has triggered a variety of investigations and discussions.

This study was anchored on the concept of Said, Tahir and Ali (2014) about the use of Facebook as an alternative to learning management system for tertiary teaching and learning purposes in a Malaysian university context. In the study that they had conducted, their purpose was to explore the use of Facebook in teaching and learning leading to understanding its potentials and limitations for teaching and learning. Moreover, in their findings, it was found out that Facebook has the potential of mixing affordances of technical, social and pedagogical for teaching and learning although Facebook is designed for socialization through creating friends network. Furthermore, they added that even though Facebook has many potential benefits for teaching and learning, it also has several concerns that need to be considered when planning it in teaching.

This study was also based on the concept of Massi et al. (2013) about the typology of the uses of Facebook. According to them, teachers and students used Facebook for different purposes, which were organized into four main categories such as organizational subject – related posts, content subject – related posts, academic posts, and affective posts.

This study was also based on the recommendation of Wang et al. (2010). In their study, they had stated that educators and researchers are just beginning to explore other pedagogical affordances of Facebook. They had stated that Facebook has significant potential in education, however, little research has reported the right niche of Facebook sense of community, integration, and connections with other students, which facilitate their development, social integration and effective learning. They had concluded that future research should investigate how to design meaningful learning activities and tasks on Facebook to enable social engagement and encourage collaborative learning.

It was in this light also that this study was enthused to explore and discover the usages of Facebook in teaching especially in English area.

Importance of the Study

I believe that the results of this study will serve as the basis for the future action to be productive and provide better valuable information which is significant to the School Administrators and the Policy Makers. This study will provide them information of how teachers use Facebook as an extension in their teaching and will help them to design a program and implement rules and regulations on the proper usage of social networking sites in their institutions.

In addition, it is hoped that this will guide and help English Educators and Teachers in Other Disciplines and enable them to consider and reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of using social networking sites such as Facebook in their teaching.

Moreover, since students are the center of the educative process, it is also anticipated that they will benefit from the results of this study. This will provide them further information about the purposes and usage of Facebook and will help them to be mindful in accurately using social networking sites in enhancing their language skills.

Furthermore, it is hoped that other researchers who want to conduct studies related to this inquiry may use this study as their reference and also to further study the recommendations that will be cited herewith.

Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study was delimited only on searching the lived experiences of the college English teachers on using Facebook in their teaching, their views of using it amidst pitfalls. Face to face in – depth interview was done for every participant in his or her available time.

Moreover, this study was conducted on the second semester of school year 2015 – 2016 to full time college English teachers who were legally employed at the University of Mindanao Tagum College, St. Mary’s College of Tagum Inc., University of Southeastern Philippines Tagum Campus, and ACES Tagum College. Furthermore, this was conducted during the last week of January 2016 until the second week of February 2016.

Definition of Terms

For clarity purposes, the following terms which are related to this

study were conceptually and operationally defined:

            Facebook. This denotes the name of the social networking site (SNS) that connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them (Beal, 2015). In my study, this refers to the networking site that teachers use in keeping in touch with their friends and students, post photos, share links and exchange other information.

Facebooking/Facebook Usage. This refers to the provision of an easy way for friends to keep in touch and for individuals to have a presence on the web and the usage of Facebook enables users to upload pictures and videos (Tech Terms, 2015). In my study, this term refers to how teachers use Facebook and what are their purposes in using this social networking site.

Facebook User. This refers to a person who has officially registered in Facebook (Tech Terms, 2015). In my study, this refers to the English teacher who has a Facebook account and who uses Facebook actively as part of his or her teaching.

            Content subject – related posts. This refers to the second category of posts that refers to content subject – related posts in which the teaching team contributed to the group’s wall by publishing the list of contents of the yearly portfolio, instructions for assignments and homework for absentees, (Modern English Teacher, 2013). In my study, this refers to the identification of the teachers’ posts that include sample assignments, writing prompts, extra information on review writing, guidelines for oral presentation, group activity, and exam, as well as songs and videos that are used in emphasizing the topics related to the subject.

Academic posts. This refers to the third category of posts which refers to the web links that are connected to teaching and includes information about academic events like workshops, scholarship talks, seminars, and link to the university’s academic calendar, (Massi et al. 2013). In my study, this refers to the identification of the teachers’ posts that include suggested readings from any web links that are related to their lessons or webpages that they wanted their students to read and view prior to their discussion.

Affective posts. This refers to the fourth category of posts in which teachers included photographs of classroom events such as presentations, get – together, or a farewell party and greetings on special days, (Modern English Teacher, 2013). In my study, affective posts denote the identification of the teachers’ posts that include photos about different subject activities, greetings or messages during special celebrations, and praising of students’ talents and performances.

Organization of the Study

Qualitative research is an approach for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem. The process of research involves emerging questions and procedures, data typically collected in the participant’s setting, data analysis inductively building from particulars to general themes, and the researcher making interpretations of the meaning of the data. The final written report has a flexible structure. Those who engage in this form of inquiry support a way of looking at research that honors an inductive style, a focus on individual meaning, and the importance of rendering the complexity of a situation (Creswell, 2014).

It was in this light that this study was divided into five chapters to put forward the whole development of the investigation.

Chapter 1 introduced the phenomenon in which the educative process has been already changed in the 21st century in which at the same time, the rise of Facebook has become more evident and universal. It also cited the studies concerning the use of Facebook in teaching that leads why this research study needs to be conducted. The first chapter also presented the purpose of the study as its core leading to research questions. Some terms that are relevant as they are used in this study are also defined in the definition of terms. In this chapter also, the theoretical lens was presented.

Chapter 2 presented review of related literature and concepts that are studied and written by various researchers on using Facebook, views of Facebook users, and the importance of using Facebook to English educators.

Chapter 3 discussed the methods which include the research design, role of the researcher, research participants, data sources, data collection procedures, trustworthiness of the study, ethical issues, ethical considerations and data analysis of the study.

Chapter 4 discussed the results of the interview which it was classified into the lived experiences of the college teachers in using Facebook and their views on it amidst pitfalls. In each topic, citations taken from the interviews were presented.

Chapter 5 completed the report by discussing the themes extracted from the results with supporting statements coming from various authors. Also, in this chapter, implications for teaching practices and future researches and drawing conclusions about what the researcher learned during the course of the study were stated.

 

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