Facebook as an education tool?
The first thing that comes to mind is: Why? Then, aren’t there many disadvantages, like the problems of privacy settings, the possibility of awkward contacts with students?
Won’t it look like I’m trying too much to be cool?
Those are normal questions, and I’m sure they popped in your mind, too! However, after a little research, I found quite a few ideas that are worth considering.
Here are a few of many advantages of having a class Facebook group.
(Don’t know how to set up a Facebook group for your class? Here’s how!)
By being in their world, they cannot ignore new information coming through the group, as they pop up on their news feed. Watch out! Don’t post too much, that’ll make your posts go in the same category as “ads” in their head: annoying and uninteresting.
You can ask poll questions regarding what they would prefer to talk about in class, or how they found the class today, or if you should allow more time for exams, or … pretty much anything class related. Think! It will allow you to complete stats automatically and know exactly where they stand. You’ll know how to better connect with them and what subjects would spark up great debates in class. You can always keep the poll options open if it is a really broad question!
Keep everyone updated on the class plant, or pet, or project, or …. by posting weekly reports of the project with photos and the whole deal. Then, a review or a summary of the project at the end of the year is much easier to do. Plus, you’ll be able to really know if the project was worth the time and the hassle or if it’s just something that the students really want to do. How? You’ll know if they like the photos, if they comment on them, if they talk to you about the update, if they want to participate in reporting on the project, etc.
Post team projects for future reference, to help students see the big picture or simply to be able to compare the level of investment each group put in. Plus, no more “I forgot it at home!” or “But X and Y are sick, they are the ones with the papers!”… it’s all there for everyone to be able to get the project, no lame excuses.
Keep updated with the non-profit organization the class decided to get involved with by liking their page or asking members of the organisation to post on the group every now and then. Kids and teens alike will be able to truly grasp the effects of their efforts!
Keep everyone posted, not just the students! Working on specific themes that involve historical or fictional characters, real life events, journalism or worldwide event (think Olympics)? A class Facebook group is the perfect thing to keep students posted and interested… parents, too, can see the project, if you let them! Then, you’re not the random teacher that does not seem interesting, you’re Mister A or Miss D that allows them a window into a piece, a part or the whole class production and environment.
At first, like you, I wasn’t quite sure it was the greatest mix to do. However, I have warmed up to the idea of using Facebook as part of my future teacher career because I can see the many advantages it brings, and I can live with the consequences. I’m looking forward to using it in my future classes, and I will keep you posted on my fails, wins and all!
See you next week for my blog post about Education and … IWB!