Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Michael J. Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vonzell Agosto, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darlene DeMarie, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl R. Ellerbrock, Ph.D.


social networking, Marcia, technology


The expanding landscape of social media offers users several platforms to introduce into their lifestyle choices. Facebook continues to be one of the most ubiquitous social media platforms in the United States (Pew Research Center, 2015), and its use in educational contexts has become an area of inquiry. This study examines how a sample of high school seniors in an IB psychology class use social media, specifically, Facebook by inquiring into the interrelationship between social media use, identity formation, and personal teacher pedagogy as part of instruction. The research questions for this study were: Question 1- How are students using social media platforms during their senior-year of high school? Question 2- In what ways does Marcia’s model of adolescence identity type help to explain potential differences in Facebook use among adolescents? Question 3- In what ways are students’ Facebook practices and teaching practices that relies on social media responsive to one another? Following ethical guidelines as prescribed by IRB procedures, participants were surveyed and categorized by their respective identity type using Marcia’s (1967) model of adolescence identity type. Utilizing a socioconstructionist theoretical framework and Marcia’s model, journal entries, interview data, and Facebook observations from four students were analyzed over a four-week period. Findings revealed that identity achievement students regarded their social media use as active and were more likely to use Facebook to research future goals. These students felt Facebook deepened interests in aspects of their identity and often used Facebook to follow-up with classwork/homework. Moratorium students regarded their Facebook use as passive and did not feel their online use deepened their identity development. All students agreed that their current Facebook profiles no longer represent their identities accurately. Gender differences, recommendations for classroom inclusion of Facebook, and personal reflections on pedagogy were also described.