Graduation Date

5-2021

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Education

Program Director

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Katherine Lewis, PhD

Abstract

My research project focuses on the use of TikTok embedded within classroom pedagogy and how it can be used as a tool to support academic and social emotional wellbeing. There is a lack of research investigating how social media can be incorporated into the classroom to make up for potential academic losses, including the inevitable social/emotional needs of adolescents that need to be addressed due to the ramifications of COVID-19. In my research, I question ways in which students see this tool as supporting their wellbeing, in what ways parents see this tool as supporting their child's wellbeing, and why TikTok is unique to successfully building a community. This project offers valuable insights into Generation Z on a deeper social-emotional level through fieldwork observation notes, surveys, and interviews with students and parents. My findings show that social media and classroom curriculum can work in tandem as a tool to increase engagement and support social emotional wellbeing and academic success. The TikTok application requires demonstrating 21st century skills, enhances social relationships, and builds a connected classroom community. Finally, this project’s findings demonstrate how educators can support the whole child through using tools such as TikTok to help provide social emotional support for highly anxious students. In the words of one participant, TikTok “makes everyone feel like they belong.”

IRB Number

10922

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