Pelagia Apolinali Mutarubukwa, Mzomwe Y Mazana


The use of social media has transformed and extensively influenced societies. It has changed the way people communicate, interact, source information, and learn. This new approach is particularly attractive to youth. These youth include students in higher learning institutions, who regard social media as a platform and space for activities not possible in the face-to-face context. However, research on how students in higher learning institutions use social media in Tanzania is limited. This study aimed at exploring students’ perception regarding the use of social media as a teaching and learning tool in higher learning institutions in Tanzania. Specifically, the study determined the different social networking sites used by students, the preferred social networking sites, usage patterns of social networking sites, and perceptions on using social networking sites as a teaching and learning tool. The study employed a qualitative strategy, drawing from twenty eight in-depth interviews from three higher learning institutions. Data were analysed through content analysis and percentages. The study revealed that the majority of students possess smartphones, and most of them are WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram subscribers. It was found that, most of them preferred WhatsApp than other social networking sites. The majority of the students opined that social networks can be used for teaching and learning purposes in higher education institutions. More results show that, students use social networking sites for social, academic and business purposes. These findings imply that, social networking sites can be adopted by lecturers, students and administrators in higher learning institutions to enhance classroom interactions and ease communication between the three groups. The study recommends that educators should work on the changing needs of students so that they can provide them with suitable technology


social media, social networking sites, learning tool, higher learning institutions, Tanzania

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