Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Educational Face of Facebook

Social networking sites have popped up all over the place in the last five years. Today Facebook is becoming a well known option among college students and older adults. I have had the opportunity to use Facebook as a social networking arena to meet up with old colleagues and friends but this time I decided to create a new page (you must be logged in to see it and add me as a friend) and see what Facebook could do as an educational tool.

At first I was skeptical, especially with all the bad press that social networking sites and children get. I knew that trying to use Facebook in the classroom would present challenges. First, this site and all other sites like this are blocked at school. This would mean we could not "technically" use it in class and it would have to been and out of class assignment(I am sure though that my students would know how to get around the block). Second, some students may not be able to access them at home due to parental regulations. Third, in some instances Facebook, specifically the class or student pages obscene or inappropriate content can be controlled but in search of different pages questionable language and content could appear. And finally, if not approved by the administration, this could be something that could go very wrong.

However, as I looked around, planned and implemented some strategies I found that Facebook does have some good applications in the classroom

  1. I as a teacher could form a group for each class that would allow students only in that class to connect. In each group applications such as voting, short online quizzes could be added.

  2. Students could use the site to look at different political issues such as the environment, Darfur, etc. that would allow them to see different sites and political opinions.

  3. Students would be able to access political candidates profiles and see where they stand on issues.

  4. Since this site is geared toward a student population - political information would be in a format that was understandable to the student.

I am not sure the good outweighs the bad. If I were to try it I would most likely try with an honors or AP class first, and all students would have to have etiquette on their behavior in a site like this and most likely a punishment due to inappropriate behavior. Still not quite sure how that would work.

1 comment:

David Marcovitz said...

Your link to Facebook does not work.