One of the most demanding challenges for teachers in the 21st century is to implement new technology in their established teaching strategy. Social media has become the center of attention for younger generations and an essential part of their life. Thus, the technological innovations became a hot topic in education whether to include or exclude them. Matt Brittland, guardian professional, points out many different uses for social media, however,I will focus how to use Facebook as a learning platform.
There are many arguments for and against to use Facebook in school. For most teachers Facebook is the social ill of the technology age distracting students from studying and absorb their attention for hours. If you google “How to use facebook in school” the first result will be explaining how to circumvent security measures of schools to prevent students to check Facebook with school computers. However, in this attention absorbing feature lies the enormous potential for teachers to have the most effective communication with their students. There is no better attention catcher in the 21st century than a little red square on the upper left corner of your Facebook. This is also the difference between other social network sites with the solely purpose of education as Edmodo and Facebook. For students Edmodo will bear the negative connotation of work and due dates, while Facebook will remain its popular status. Therefore, the potential of Facebook is much higher.
“You can join a group for your major to discuss classes, for your sorority to plan upcoming events, or for your dorm to share photos.” – Facebook engineer Michael Novati
The decision-makers of Facebook realized its educational potential and introduced in April of this year the “Groups for school” feature allowing colleges and high schools to have their own Facebook site with all security standards demanded by institutions of education allowing only students with an respective .edu address to join the groups. Ironically, there is also a Facebook site for education “to serve as an ongoing resource for information about how educators can best use Facebook.”
In the following you can see an example (link to original article) how to use Facebook successfully in class. This example is taken from a comment of the emerginedtech.com article “ 5 Reasons Why Educators Need to Embrace Internet Technology”:
“In my British Literary History course last winter semester, my professor created a class facebook group which we all joined. We’d finish our reading for class and then get online and write a paragraph about what we’d read, focusing our comments on the specific course aims that my professor had created for the class. We would then go to class where my professor would note the ways in which we’d covered the material well and he’d teach anything we missed as well as anything else he wanted us to know.
This way of conducting class was effective because:
1. We were socially motivated to complete the reading and contribute to the online discussion.
2. We didn’t spend class time going over that which we already understood.
3. We were able to benefit from insights from peers who generally don’t participate in class discussion.
4. We all learned to focus the vast amount of reading required for such a course to the specific course aims of our professor.
5. Through contributions from our classmates, we understood how each distinct text related to the others and to the class focus, and so on.
We shouldn’t discount facebook when it has proven to be a worthwhile classroom tool. I should also note that a class facebook group doesn’t require the professor or students to “friend” each other to participate.”
PS: During the course of writing this blog entry I have checked my facebook nine times prolonging the process of creating this entry by a serious amount of time.