Using social media in dental education: a qualitative study

Amr Ahmed Ahmed Hamed Elraggal, Stuart Sims, Marianna Cerasuolo, Chris Louca

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Objectives: Social media (SM) use is now ubiquitous in society. Originally used for socialising between individuals, they are increasingly used for educational purposes. The aim of this study was to explore the role of SM in dental education in the UK and Egypt, as they are used by both dental and dental care professional (DCP) students and their teachers.

Methods: 17 semi-structured online interviews were conducted with dental (n=7), DCP (n=3) students and their teachers (n=7) from one UK and three Egyptian universities. The interviews included open-ended questions about participants` definitions of SM, their use of SM for the purposes of communication, searching for information and learning/teaching. The interviews also investigated participants` perceptions regarding strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of using SM for educational purposes. Data analysis was carried out using a thematic framework technique.

Results: Analysis revealed that SM were seen by the interviewees as online and unofficial tools for communication. The participants used SM for communication, collaboration, networking with other dental professionals and as a source of information. The participants referred to some advantages of SM such as ease of use, accessibility, and the speed of communication. However, the participants expressed a number of social concerns related to privacy, professionalism, and potential for distraction. Moreover, some educational concerns about the accuracy of information, the need for motivation and training, were highlighted. Also, some participants were concerned about the availability of some technical requirements such as educational tools (computers, tablets, and smart phones), electricity, and the internet.

Conclusions: SM are potentially useful and effective educational tools that can supplement classroom teaching and encourage collaborative, student-centred, and unofficial learning. However, both students and teachers should be aware of their drawbacks and the requirement for training to use them positively.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021
Event2021 IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition - Virtual event
Duration: 21 Jul 202125 Jul 2021


Conference2021 IADR/AADR/CADR General Session & Exhibition
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