American University
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posted on 2023-07-13, 14:27 authored by Maame Amoyaw

The Internet, and more specifically, social media applications, have been incorporated into the daily lives of many people in society. This transition has implications for what can be learned, what kind of learning is happening, and what in-person actions digital learning can lead to. This qualitative study reframed digital learning in an informal capacity and argued that Black women influencers should be equated with digital, nonformal teachers and social media application users for digital, nonformal students but in a nonformal way requiring a curriculum. The aim was to learn how social media applications and the networks within them function as informal and nonformal learning spaces; also, what is the role of teachers, learners, and antiracist content in this specific kind of Black women-centered digital learning. Narrative inquiry was used to explore digital learning spaces with five Black women social media influencers on Instagram, the host social media application. The research question was: What is the most effective strategy for organizations to create non-formal learning spaces on social media applications? By definition, social media applications are informal learning spaces without structure, earned credentials, or learning objective. However, this study suggests creating a nonformal, antiracist curriculum for social media applications to change digital learning by centering Black women as nonformal digital teachers. The National Women’s Law Center hosted this intervention, based on the foundational theories of intersectionality and connectivism and using the narrative inquiry qualitative photovoice method to center the influencers. Community and the cultivation of networks of Black women who share similar ideas were pivotal to developing this study. The results revealed these emergent themes among the women: community keeping, network cultivation, and social awareness of issues facing Black women. As we move into the digital age, Black women’s influence inside and outside the classroom continues. Implications for organizations, K-12 educational institutions, and social media influencers and applications are discussed. For organizations looking to increase audience engagement on social media applications, this research showed that applying a social impact curriculum centering on Black women and cultivating a digital learning environment through language and images can lead to antiracist exploration.





Committee chair: Simmons, Robert. Committee members: Cohen, Samantha; Mollica, Jason.




Degree Awarded: D.Ed. School of Education. American University; Local identifier: local: Amoyaw_american_0008E_12074.pdf; Pagination: 102 pages

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