Facebook as a tool?

Facebook has become one of the most popular social networks in the world. There are as many teenagers as adults that use this network. Whether it is to keep in touch with family or friends, or to play games, people use Facebook a lot. So why don’t we use it as an educational tool?

As a future teacher, I think that Facebook can be an interesting tool to use in class with students. There are a lot of things that we can do with this network. It is possible to create a group that will be seen only by the teacher and the students. This group will allow students to feel like they belong to a community. Also, with children in primary school, this community can be a way to intrust them with responsibilities. Example, each week a student could be responsible of the group with the teacher. The student would make sure that everything that goes on the page is correct. If not, he/she will tell the teacher and see with what they can do with the post. The parents could be added to the group, this would be a way for them to be involved in their child education and participate in it. (http://pedagotic.uqac.ca/?post/2010/10/11/Facebook-en-classe%3A-oui-ou-non) On this group, the students would be able to share information or ask questions to their peers or teacher.

Moreover, it is possible to add a calendar to the group where all the important dates will be on. This calendar will allow students to be aware of the important events or exams coming up. Also, any changes to the schedule could be done on the calendar and, every time, a notification would be sent to the students. The fact that they are almost always on Facebook will allow them to stay aware of the changes rapidly. (http://www.edudemic.com/100-updated-ways-to-use-facebook-in-your-classroom/) Furthermore, teachers would be able to provide some materials to their students on this page. It can be websites to consult for research projects, pretests, activities to practice what was seen in class, etc. (http://www.icicte.org/Proceedings2012/Papers/09-1-Petrovic.pdf)

Cyprien Lomas, Director of the Learning Centre in Land and Food Systems, discovered that even though students have access to WebCTVista an online forum for the students of the University of British Colombia, they use Facebook has a forum for online discussion. (http://ctlt.ubc.ca/2009/01/30/facebook-and-education/) For me, it means that even if the students have access to forum on the universities’ page, they prefer to use Facebook probably because the access is easier for them because they are always logged on it.

However, some people say that it is not a really great idea because students are not aware of what can happen on social network. Personally, I think that to set up a group with a class will be a good way to introduce them to the horrors that can happen on this type of networks if you don’t have the right privacy settings. So, before beginning to use the group with the students, teachers can look at the privacy settings with them to explain them how to protect their identity.

In sum, this network is at the tip of their fingers. So, why don’t we take advantages of this fact to create an educational environment?