Monday, October 1, 2012

Facebook as an instructional Tool in the Classroom

I think that social media, particularly face book is a good thing to use as an instructional tool in the classroom. I do feel it is a good tool, but one must monitor and watch as an adult and professional. With anything in this world comes negativity and yes, face book does have negative sides. As long as monitored and used correctly face book and other social media can be used as an instructional tool in the classroom. The younger generations are of the technology age. Social media is the in/new thing, using a computer and other technology devices are the in thing. Students engage more and have more interest in things they know and things they enjoy.
                Allowing students to use the computers and social media as an instructional tool not only helps them learn and develop in an academic sense but also in computer skills and fine motor skills (using the mouse, typing). Like almost anything comes pros and cons. With social media like face book there are pros or benefits in the classroom and for individuals. As stated in article “5 Best Practices for Educators on Face book” face book group activities can be effective in continuing class discussions, connecting students for help creating study groups, help provide academic and personal support, last but not lease students who maybe shy would be able to communicate and participate in a less intimidating way.
Using face book can create a sense of communication between students and teachers (100 ways using face book in the classroom). In the 100 ways article face book as a learning tool is informal, students feel more comfortable and less stressed. This may allow them to want to take part more. Also in the 100 ways article #30 states “students engaged outside the class”. Students who have a face book do tend to spend a lot of time on face book. While they are on they could check the classroom page; check notes, do homework, etc. “When accessing the class content more often, that means they will be thinking and engaging more frequently.” Posting information such as the ocean field research can create an “interactive resource” (5 Best Practices for Educators on Face book).
With pros also come cons. According to the Sarah Stewart article she is right “face book is not a quick fix for your teaching and learning problems” it is a tool but we as teachers need to be creative and think outside the box for its uses. Not all students have a face book and some parents may not want them to have one. Have to respect the parents’ wishes. This is a con because then not all of your students would be able to access the face book pages. Another con stated in this article would be that “clear concerns about confidentiality and what face book does with personal information”. Once you create a face book it is out there for people to see. You have to take precautions so that the wrong person or people do not get your personal information. There is always a risk of someone getting the information once it is out in “cyber world”. . “5 Best Practices for Educators on Face book” hits on the con of being friends with students on face book. Students and their teachers should not be friends on face book it is inappropriate. Personal life and teaching life should not be put together. Once students find out that you have a face book they will want to be friends with you, they won’t understand why it’s not okay to be friends. A solution to this con is creating a classroom face book that way it stays professional. 
With any use of the internet especially face book there is always the risk of “inappropriate or objectionable material” (Poole article). Sometimes viruses or spam are of pornography or inappropriate items/materials. This is the risk of any internet usage. They can even pop up on face book pages and such. Getting a good antivirus software may help but as the teacher you should always be aware of what is going on, on the internet especially.
An idea for future face book use in my classroom would be biographies. When focusing on a specific important person in history, I could create a page for them, with factual information the students need to know and learn. Creating a profile picture of that person, creating photo albums of pictures of important events the person took part in. The about information would be up to date and contain important information such as birth date, job position, home location and possibly the day they passed way. The wall posts on the face book page could either be from that person or others. Wall posts could also be more information/facts for that person’s life. Some people I may use this idea for may be Johnny Appleseed, Lewis and Clark, the many U.S presidents, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. the possibilities are endless. This would be a fun and interactive way students could learn about the people in history, they could maybe even post questions on the different walls and I could answer them if possible.
Another idea for the use of face book in the classroom would be for current event exercises. Not very many students watch the news and know what is going on in our communities let alone the world around us. For homework students could each bring in information on a current event and then in class create a face book page or event page for that event. With the dates and times, locations and background information. If students do not create the pages I could take their events and make them. We could even link these pages to our classroom page for easy access. We would have a set time during the day for the students to read through the current events and gain the knowledge and information related to each. As the teacher I may have a worksheet to go along with out “Current Event Time”. Students would have to fill in the date and time and location of one or two events. As well as the important facts surrounding the event and a couple things that they learned or found interesting.
I feel for my classroom creating a Miss. Austin’s Classroom face book page would be cool and creative way to keep in contact with the students and their parents. I would have the activities and assignments posted. Parents would be able to see what their children need to be doing and when things are due and such. Parents could also possible use this as a communication tool, with me and other parents.  Along with a link to the school’s website to keep the parents updated. With this page parents would be constantly informed of activities and such.


  1. Ashley,
    I really like your idea about using the current events on Facebook. I remember having to do current events in high school and I disliked them very much! Mainly because I didn't enjoy writing and I didn't really see the point since the teacher and I were the only ones that would see the event I choose. Posting about events on a class Facebook page would give other students a chance to read about different issues and see their classmates view on it all! Thats a great way to get students involved in things that really matter!

  2. I completely agree about respecting parents' wishes about Facebook. If you have one student who doesn't have a Facebook, should you use Facebook in class at all? I don't know. I guess it depends on what you're using it for. If the idea is to create a community space, does the one kid without Facebook end up feeling even more left out? There's a lot to think about there, I think.

    I also like the current events idea and Meghan's comment on it. I think classmates being able to see your work, making it feel a little more important, is a really neat aspect for all the various forms of social media.

  3. I very much agree with what you had to say. The point of potential cons by using Facebook or any social media is always an issue, but many ways have been developed, especially if using them in a classroom setting to keep the students safe and clear from them. I also like they way that you connected this to how it can be helpful even for students with disabilities (improving fine motor skills using the keyboard and mouse) At this day and age social media is a way of life and if a safe approach is taken, students definitely need to take the opportunity to learn and experience as much as they can.

  4. You certainly laid out the positives and negatives of using FB and social media in the classroom. Your first paragraph talks a lot about how FB is the "new or in thing" and that is what students want. Did you find anything in your readings that might help support this idea?

    Your idea of using FB for biographies is a good one. I think it lends itself very well to that and allows a student to do research and learn while seemingly "playing around" on FB.

    p.s. Do a quick spell check and edit before posting. Also, I am fairly certain Facebook is one word. Thanks!