Use of social media among University of Zambia lecturers in teaching and learning
Mwalimu, Edward C.
Mwiinga, Thabiso M.
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The role of social media in teaching and learning in higher learning institutions cannot be overemphasized. Higher Education (HE) teaching practices have evolved over the last two decades, with more emphasis on student centred pedagogy. There is an increased expectation placed onto the role that technologies can play to harness effective learning. This is because student centred learning requires technology which facilitates active learning and deep interaction between students and their lecturers. One way in which lecturers can embracing the use of technology is through social media. However, there remains disconnect between the ambition for interactive learning through technology and the realities of the practice. The aim of this study was to investigate whether or not University of Zambia Lecturers use social media in teaching and learning. Specifically, the study investigated the extent to which social media platforms are being used by UNZA lecturers as teaching and learning tools, the preferred social media platforms for teaching and learning, the ICT knowledge levels and skills of UNZA lecturers in using social media platforms for teaching and learning, perceived benefits of using social media in teaching and learning, and challenges faced by UNZA Lecturers in using social media for teaching and learning. The study employed qualitative method. Thirty lecturers from the school of Education at the University of Zambia were purposively selected to take part in the study. Data was collected through a semi structured interview guide and focus group discussions. Results revealed that Lecturers especially the younger ones were in the forefront of using social media platforms for teaching and learning purposes. Further the results indicated that the most preferred social media for regular instruction were YouTube, Slideshare, Wikis, Blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Podcasts and if appropriately implemented, these technologies can be a catalysts for learner-centred approach to teaching, social presence, collaborative learning, reduced cost, interactive, global reach, replicability and searchability were the main benefits the study revealed.The study also revealed that most of lecturers were competent enough to use social media for teaching and learning purposes while a few indicated that they required some of training. Challenges faced include, cost, inaccessible Wi-Fi, insufficient computers, privacy, time constraint, technophobia and miscommunication were the main challenges the study revealed. In view of the above the revelations, the study recommended that for lecturers to fully utilize social media for teaching and learning the University should invest in the much needed ICT infrastructure which includes computer labs in schools, improved internet connectivity and acquaint all lecturers on the benefits of using social media for teaching and learning. Further lecturers are encouraged to assist learners to make effective use of these social media to build their knowledge base.