Doctoral Fellow's Research Focuses on TikTok's Role in Classroom Management for New Teachers
TikTok has been trending in Stefanie McKoy’s life for a solid year. The U of A doctoral fellow’s research focuses on how K-12 teachers use the platform to help manage their classrooms.
She recently won a Three Minute Thesis competition (as a representative of the College of Education and Health Professions) by boiling down her many months of research to the most pertinent parts. Having presented at more than 20 conferences in five states before the competition helped prepare her for the challenge.
McKoy’s original thesis has since morphed into her doctoral dissertation proposal. If it’s approved, she’ll be immersed in the video creation world of TikTok for at least another year. The Ph.D. candidate and graduate assistant in the U of A Department of Curriculum and Instruction recently presented research to her doctoral committee — the first step before entering the dissertation phase. She shared about classroom management challenges that preservice teachers face on the job, obstacles that are now heightened in the digital world.
Her research has a practical application in the classroom. “I hope my research helps novice teachers navigate the growing world of social media teaching resources as they begin leading and managing their own classrooms,” she said.
McKoy taught elementary school for 13 years before leaving to become a full-time graduate assistant at the U of A. “As a mom and wife, it was hard to leave the classroom security to pursue my passion for learning,” she said. “I taught third grade for 10 years, fifth grade for three years and gifted for three years.”
But she’s excited to work with students at the college level. As a graduate assistant, she’s also able to teach U of A undergraduate and graduate-level courses to students focused on special education, gifted and talented education, and teacher preparedness.
McKoy holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University and earned a master’s in educational technology leadership from the U of A in 2009.
In addition to her love for teaching and research, she’s a prolific writer. McKoy has written 14 books for Kagan Publishing that provide kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers with engaging lesson plans in various subject areas. She recently collaborated with COEHP assistant professor Lorien S. Jordan in the Educational Statistics and Research Methods Program to publish a book chapter on netnograpahy, a qualitative method for researching social media. Another book chapter has been accepted, and the two are also finishing two research projects on social media topics.
Over the past year, McKoy worked alongside her adviser, professor Marcia Imbeau, to move U of A gifted coursework online to reach a wider audience.
The experiences she’s gaining in the curriculum and instruction program fuel her overall passion, which is learning.
“I love to understand myself and find the answer to what, why or how,” she said. “I am curious by nature. I pursued gifted education because I am a gifted person myself, and I want to continue to advocate for all students to have access to the education they need. I explore the how for our gifted students, twice-exceptional students, students learning online, disadvantaged students, etc., by keeping up with current research, attending/presenting at conferences and assisting classroom teachers. I like to explore the why and what by observing online behavior and the intersection of education with social media. This area is where I want to focus my research.”
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