Fischler College of Education: Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Shirley Walrod

Committee Member

Charles Schlosser


This applied dissertation was designed to analyze the effects of social networking for educational purposes on the academic achievement of regular and special education students in the secondary school setting. The effect of social networking on student learning has not been determined. There is a limited amount of research on how and to what extent teachers use social networking within the parameters of instruction. There is even less research distinguishing the effects of social networking on the academic achievement on regular and special education students.

The student participants engaged in discussion forums as their primary social networking experience. Of the 155 participants, 94 were enrolled in a class that required participation in asynchronous discussion forum, and 61 were enrolled in a class with more traditional instruction devoid of social networking. The treatment consisted of 12 discussion prompts created by the teacher in the Blackboard course management system.

The analysis of student test data showed no significant difference in mean scores attributable to social networking when educational status was ignored. When educational status was not ignored, however, the significant difference of mean scores between all regular education and all special education students was found to be highly unlikely to have been due to chance. This study also found that there was an interaction between educational status and social networking. The infusion of educational social networking helped narrow the achievement gap between regular and special education students.