We’re excited to bring you a guest post from Jordan Mendys today, bio follows.
When most people think about Facebook and the classroom, it tends to bring thoughts of slackers on smart phones ignoring teachers and professors. There is enough evidence to support this, but that doesn’t mean that Facebook doesn’t play a role in academia. In fact, once outside of the class, there are plenty of ways that you can use Facebook to increase the success of your students. Whether it brings in parental involvement, or encourages after school topical conversations, this social media tool can be properly used to create a great academic environment.
One thing that Facebook allows is creating groups and other pages. By creating a class group, and having it be a requirement to join, you can cultivate a space for the students to continue class discussions after school hours. You can set forth prompts and questions that students can discuss in detail on the Facebook page, and get a collaborative effort going on with your class. In fact, make it a requirement for students to partake in weekly, daily, etc. discussions.
This takes off some of the pressure of students having to speak in front of peers, and allows more time to craft arguments and thoughts before sharing. This can make students more comfortable with classroom discussions. Not to mention, moving to an online, social platform is more likely to get student involvement due to their love of social media. Moving to this popular site might encourage more discussions than you can get out of students in a class environment.
By making students join these groups and have required discussions, you will get more accountability from the students. Children always have excuses about why they didn’t do work, or about forgetting assignments, but with the ability to repeatedly send out deadlines and ask for involvement, students have less of a reason to “forget” assignments. You also have the advantage of students using real names versus on other platforms, so they will be held responsible for what they say and put on the group’s page.
Most parents also have Facebook accounts, and getting them to join the groups allow them to have a voice in the class. Of course they don’t need to be partaking in coursework, but it can be a place to send announcements to parents about class. This also adds to student accountability, because with you messaging the group, parents get information that students can’t deny at a later date. They can’t go to parents saying teachers never sent out an assignment when it is clearly documented. It is also nice to have a line of communication open with parents, and having as collaborative a community as possible.
So these are the best reasons and features of incorporating Facebook into the classroom (rather outside the classroom). You have a new innovative area that allows you to cultivate student involvement like you haven’t been able to before. You can open students up to real, in depth conversations they have not been comfortable with before. Having engagement a requirement for class, you are also finding one way or another to get students to speak up about the material covered in class. It is also a nice way to bring parents into the conversation, allowing students to be accountable for the work they are producing. It is a win-win for all.
Jordan Mendys is an NC native, finishing his M.A. in Film and Video from American University. He is also a social media blogger, and he helps blog for entertainment providers.
**Editor’s Note: The Facebook terms of Service require users to be 13 to create an account.**
Interested in learning more ways to use social media in your classroom? Check out Four Ways Teachers Can Utilize Twitter in the Classroom