Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites and is an obvious first pick for using in the classroom. I recommend using other sites, like Google, even if it’s only for their ease. Facebook does have a lot of perks though, its prize being its popularity. As a teacher, connecting to your students through Facebook can be an easy, safe and a good way to help build a rapport and student learning.
Percent of People Who Use Social Networks Percent Yes
Do you ever use / have a profile on… (Poll Taken in early 2012)
Any social network 56 %
Facebook 54 % LinkedIn 13 % Twitter 10 %
Google+ 8 %
How to protect your profile’s visibility?
First things first, if you haven’t altered your privacy settings and your already in the classroom then you may already have a problem. Just pray a student hasn’t seen an incriminating photo from your common lapse of judgment throughout university. Changing your settings is just not enough though. It’s still easy to find pictures or a profile through a mutual friend who may not have the same privacy concerns as you. In this case it’s a good idea to alter your name so students have a harder time searching for you. All that being said, you will most likely be using Facebook with your students so how can you still hide your account from them? Well, it’s possible to keep your account hidden if you’ve created and post in a class page. Every post you make will be posted under the name of the page and have no ties to you.
What parts of Facebook to use?
Using both pages or groups is the best way to communicate and share with your students. As mentioned before, creating a Facebook page keeps your account private from your students. Creating a group doesn’t allow you to hide your account but it offers more. If creating a class group it is best to either have a student set it up or create it yourself with a new ‘professional’ account.
What you can use them for?
There’s multiple ways you can use Facebook pages and groups.
Discussion: the teacher can set up discussion questions for the students to participate in and allow shy students to share their opinions.
Questions: students can post questions or concerns. These can be answered by the teacher or other students. It’s collaborative learning and allows the teacher to monitor student answers.
Announcements/reminders: the teacher can post announcements about class activities or important dates online for the students. The teacher can also upload files or post links to class readings.
Polls: these can be used to assess student prior knowledge or get them thinking about events to come. Can even be used for fun as an aside. For example, asking students who their favorite activist was during the civil rights movement in America.
Post anything topic related: I would say that it is equally important to post topic related information to help spark student interest. This can be in the form of funny pictures or comics, interesting videos, out fun facts. It’s your page, be creative.
Showcase examples of assignments for easy access: most importantly the teacher can use pages or groups to showcase student work and provide examples.
Facebook allows the teacher to have a platform to communicate to their students and provide easy access to information, discussions, and activities.