There is a growing controversy over the use of Facebook in education.Some argue for its integration and others disfavour it. I believe that the main reason behind this controversy is the lack of solid empirical researches about the overall value of not only Facebook but all other popular social networking in education. There are , however, some researchers ( like Crook and Harrison ,Charnigo, Barnett-Ellis, Hewitt and Forte, Mathews, Mazer and Murphy ) who have written about the potential of social networking in education, yet only few studies have specifically addressed its role in pedagogy.
Facebook has, admittedly, been making many inrads into education over the last few years. Be it for or against its use in education, our students are deeply immersed into this social network. Facebook has become part and parcel of their everyday life. They craft online lives that seamlessly meld with their offline world. Our responsibility as teachers and educators is to help them better leverage this medium and benefit from it educationally and not shun them away from it. Students are very smart and even the one you think is the dumbest in your class will probably embarrass you once you give him a chance online. Students have long made up their minds about Facebook and we can not change it.
However, one of the characteristics of a successful teacher is adaptability. Yes, you need to adapt your teaching methods to your new circumstances and according to your students emerging learning needs. The use of Facebook in education is a huge challenge, but not an invincible one. We can turn it into a great learning tool for our students and this is exactly what this post will help you do.
Here is the outline of the main ideas we developed below :
1- Advantages of Facebook in Education
2- Facebook Tips for Teachers
3- Ways Teachers Can Use Facebook
4- Educational Facebook applications for Students and Teachers
5- Facebook Groups for Teachers and Educators to join
5- Facebook Privacy Issues and how to Work on Them
1- Advantages of the use of Facebook in education :
Here are some of the benefits you may harvest from your effective use of Facebook with your students :
- Relaxed, friendly and inviting atmosphere which encourages students participation and engagement
- Students feel comfortable learning through Facebook because most of them use it everyday
- Facebook can promote collaboration and social interchange between participants
- Students get engaged about their learning outside the classroom
2- Facebook tips for teachers :
Here are some important tips that teachers need to keep in mind when using Facebook with their students :
- Teachers should create a seperate account just for their classes
- Manage your privacy settings to keep your professional and private lives seperate. Click here to read how
- You need to be diligent about policing what kind of photos are shared on Facebook
- You need to give clear instructions to students on the kind of stuff to be shared on Facebook
- You should teach students about netiquette protocol. Click Here to learn more.
- Ask for parental permission before getting students on Facebook
- When granted permission always keep parents updated about the learning that is taking place via Facebook
- Students should never post threats, racist materials, or libel
- Always engage in civil and respectful debates. Do not talk bad about your school.
- Do not add students as friends on personal accounts and always maitain your distance.
- Use Facebook ‘s flexible privacy settings to pick and choose who can see what on a profile page
- Teachers can set up a private class group to communicate with students
- If you have a classroom blog you can import it to Facebook for students to stay updated right from their profiles
- Do not post personnal comments about ones children, pets,..etc., unless they are relevant to the tasks at hand
- Do not get involved in a student’s private life
- No student should ever be forced to add one another as a friend
- Remind students to police themselves online. Students do better when they feel they are responsible for their learning
- The last tip is to always stay engaged. Try to remain so even if the class is a poor fit.
3- Ways teachers can use Facebook
Here are some of the ways you can use Facebook for educational purposes :
Create a group for your class and strengthen the communication between you and your students. Check this handout to learn how to create your class group on Facebook.
- Schedule events for the entire class .
- Use message utility in Facebook to message your students about unexpected absences, rescheduling of exams…etc.,
- Share multimedia content like videos, photos, clips and more with your entire class .
- Post class notes for students to review in case they were absent
- Try to involve students who are normally shy in the classroom
- Facilitate classroom connections through letting students know each other more. This is particularly helpful in large classes.
- Use Facebook to send reminders, announcements, upcoming due dates or any other classroom news.
- Sharing online content with students such as interesting websites, blogs, wikis, and more
- Add educational applications to your Facebook group. Scroll down for a list of such applications.
- Encourage students to post content of their own such as videos, images, news stories and other media that relate back to their lessons.
- Look for other classrooms online that are willing to collaborate on educational projects, assignments and discussions.
- Use the events section to remind students of the upcoming field trips
4- Facebook Educational Apps
There are many important Facebook educational apps for both teachers and students :
Here are some for students :
- WeRead : students use it to talk about books they read and get to know what others read.
- Notely : Students can use it to organize assignments, classes, notes and many more
- Study Groups ; They can use it to create study groups and collaborate with each other
- Used Text Groups : This is a group where students can sell and buy used text books
- CiteMe : Students use it to learn how to properly include citations
Here are some apps for Teachers :
- Calendar : Teachers can use it to keep their classes on track with upcoming assignments, test, due dates and many more
- Courses : They can use it to create instructor page and manage their courses
- Webinaria : This helps teachers record their class lectures and post them on Facebook for the class to review.
- To-do-list ; Easily create a reminder list
- Worldcat : easily search for material available at libraries around the world to help in with your research
- Check out this List of Facebook Learning Apps to explore more.
Using Facebook to grow professionally also means that you need to join groups designed specifically for educators and teachers where they share links and materials and talk about educational issues. Here is a list of such groups that you might be interested in joining .
5- Facebook Groups for Teachers and Educators
Educators using facebook : This is one of my favourites. Join this to keep in track of what other educators are sharing and talking about.
Facebook for educators : This is where you can learn about how to use Facebook with your students
Education : This is also another great group for educators and teachers
Educators network : this is for teachers who teach young learners
Have fun teaching : This is an excellent resource for teachers
Teachers- sharing ideas and resources for the classroom : This group is for primary and secondary teachers and is full of great resources.
5- Facebook and privacy issues:
One of the things about Facebook that scares parents as well as teachers is privacy issues. Again ignorance is behind this fear and once we know how to use Facebook properly we can overcome most of these issues. Here are some great resources to help you learn more about privacy issues in Facebook.