Date of Award

Spring 2011

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Edmundo F. Litton, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Marta Baltodano, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Karen K. Huchting, Ph.D.

Abstract

Cyberbullying, the use of personal and information and communication technologies to harass or intimidate others, is an increasingly pervasive problem in schools. This mixed- methods study explored the effectiveness of a multimedia WebQuest in teaching 156 middle-school students about the dangers of cyberbullying and examined the role of gender in learning about cyber-harassment. Set within a constructivist framework, the study provides an innovative, technological intervention for cyberbullying education for use with adolescents and is instrumental in reshaping public policy surrounding cyberbullying education and prevention. The dissertation study occurred in two phases. Phase I, WebQuest Construction, was qualitative in nature and employed stakeholder focus groups to assess middle-school students’ knowledge and awareness surrounding cyberbullying. Data from the focus groups informed the construction of the WebQuest. The second phase, Data Collection from Students, was quantitative in nature and was composed of a pre-test, WebQuest treatment, and post-test. Data analyses for Phase II included paired-sample t tests, repeated-measures analyses of variance, and descriptive statistics that focused on three dependent variables, namely awareness, safety, and knowledge. Findings indicated statistically significant increases in awareness and knowledge from the pre-test to post-test among the middle-school aged participants, while the slight increase in safety from pre to post-test was not significant. The findings support the need for school communities to begin engaging in conversation surrounding the best ways to teach students about cyberbullying’s dangers through the use of technology and issue a call for a re-examination of constructivist learning theory.

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