Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Joan Mazur

Abstract

This dissertation presents an examination of social media use among highly mobile, military-connected high school aged populations using a multiple case study of a Student 2 Student Program. On average, students from military families move six to nine times over the course of their K-12 education. Multiple and frequent parent deployments further exacerbate this situation. Both situations independently effect military-connected students’ social, emotional, and academic development. Offered through the Military Coalition Education Council, the Student 2 Student (S2S) Program was created for the precise purpose of providing military students with the social and instrumental support they need to successfully manage school transitions. Customized to meet the needs, climate, and culture of each individual school, S2S programs are student-led and school-managed. The study design is a holistic, multiple case study of military connected students’ use of social media. Seven high schools with S2S programs, each with different individual characteristics, were the research sites, drawn from two school districts located in close proximity to one of the largest military installations in the southeast of the United States. Data from surveys, semi-formal interviews, discussions, direct observations and documents were analyzed in a two stage process: 1) a within-case analysis and 2) a cross-case analysis.

Findings indicate that S2S participants purposefully use various social media platforms in order to communicate and connect with and maintain their social networks. The roles that social media play in their lives include blending the past and present, anchoring the past, adapting to the present, sharing worlds and reaching out. The findings from this dissertation suggest adult S2S advisors play an important role in determining the extent to which social media are integrated and often fears about social media are in evidence. Regardless, students’ use of social media persists. Implications include that social media platforms could be used more strategically as part of S2S programs to help these students adjust more easily to new schools and environments. Further research is needed to more fully explore these initial findings and promote student empowerment through social media use and positive networking.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2017.232

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