“Book” “Face” and the classroom

Slide1    If you’re a fan of the Office, you may have gotten a good laugh out of Jim’s “Facebook” Halloween costume in this week’s episode.  There’s something refreshing about applying a sense of levity to discussions about using Facebook in schools.  Not that there are not serious considerations about the issue, but sometimes we need to step back and take a different view.

Coincidentally, today I ran across this excellent resource for 100 ways to use Facebook  in the classroom thanks to a link from Stephen Abram.  It includes ways to use it safely and wisely, a great list of apps for Facebook use for students, ways for educators to network on Facebook, and advantages to using it with students.  While the article is directed at college level educators, many of these tips would apply to use in secondary schools also!

Maybe it is time we join ‘book face’, think outside of the box,  and have a different type of conversation about how to use Facebook in the classroom.   Our campus is getting ready to do a pilot to have Facebook available to some teachers on our campus to initiate just such a conversation.  Piloting sites like this to troubleshoot the pitfalls and experiment with the successes is an excellent way to approach those “spooky” sites and to find solutions rather than just slamming the door on them.  We’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

photo: http://www.nbc.com/The_Office/

2 thoughts on ““Book” “Face” and the classroom

  1. Carolyn,

    I just had this conversation with both a teacher and my Assistant Superintendent today. Do we really need Facebook unblocked? Or do we keep it off of our network and create our own spaces for the types of dialogue we want?

    My point is this: we often have this desire to meld all of our learning spaces into one place, but I don’t know that we should. For example, I treat twitter and facebook as very different spaces, one very public, one very private. That may be naive, but I still use language twists in facebook that I wouldn’t use in twitter. Twitter is much more of a research tool for me. I ask you, should we open such things just for the sake of opening them? Or should we teach that there should be some respect for the private lives of our students by giving them facebook as their own, and create an academic arena?

    Just thinking out loud on your post. Thanks.

  2. My struggle with this is–do we use tools the students already use, and find educational ways to be in the spaces they are familiar with, or do we create “fake” alternative spaces that work, but maybe aren’t their go-to space, or is there some in-between(like the suggestions in the link I included to create ‘separate’ teacher accounts in Facebook.) ? We are having similar struggles over Skype–and it’s like, are we going to swim against the tide, or are we going to use the tool that other people are using to communicate?

    I’m not necessarily advocating that we require every teacher to use Facebook, but to me, it’s similar to the issue we first had with allowing access and use of blogs in schools. As usage has developed, it’s clear some teachers find blogging useful and some don’t. Similarly, some may find communicating with students via Facebook useful and some won’t. But I think it is a similar issue–don’t we give teachers those choices to use the web 2.0 tools that come naturally to students and where they can reach them?

    When these issues come up, I also think of email as an example. I recall when email was first coming into our campus–there was a lot of concern about email and what people might do with it, and controlling it, etc. Now we don’t even think about email–it’s like breathing, it’s such a natural part of what we do.

    I do think it’s important that we consider best practices and use, and determine what works–that’s the genius behind piloting tools we aren’t sure about.

    And though any tool can be abused, I think the site I pointed too has many suggestions for how schools can use Facebook both wisely and well.

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