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Awesome Facebook Apps for Educators

Brian Jenkins

AwesomeWhile you may see Facebook as the enemy during your computer lab time, it doesn't have to be. Facebook can actually help students learn if you tap into the more than 200 Facebook apps for educators.

Here are some of the popular Facebook apps for educators used inside and outside the classroom to help students learn:

Facebook Educational Applications

Of the 200 apps available, they vary in quality, and many were not developed by Facebook. Here are some top picks to help you use this social networking phenom spur student achievement.

  • Study Groups: Students use this popular application to work together outside of the classroom. They collaborate on group projects, share notes, discuss assignments, and help each other prepare for tests.
  • SAT Quest: This application prepares students for the SAT with short, five question SAT prep games. The questions become more difficult as students move to higher levels.
  • Quizlet: This handy tool is on of tne of the largest and fastest growing flashcard websites. Over 1 million registered users have uploaded tens of millions of flash cards. Flash card sets are available for a variety of topics including standardized test prep, languages, math, and science.
  • To Do List: Students use this application to organize their school assignments. Students can make multiple lists.
  • Zoho Online Office: Although it's designed for businesses, this application is used by students to store their documents and class presentations online. They can then share their documents with other students. It's a great way for students to manage their information.
  • Quiz Monster: Students create their own quizzes with this very popular application.
  • GRE GMAT SAT Vocabulary Flashcards: This application includes 5000 words students should be familiar with before taking the SAT. It also includes 1100 words for the GRE and GMAT tests. Students mark a word based on its level of difficulty. An easy-level word repeats after nine days and a medium level-word repeats after three days.
  • Farmville, Cafeworld, Pet Society or Other Simulation Games: You can use these games and applications to have students apply real world business strategies, management and decision-making skills or to demonstrate responsibility to care for a virtual facebook pet.

Should Facebook be used at school for educational purposes?

The answer depends on who you ask. Tim Pychyl, an associate professor of psychology as Carleton University, believes the problem with using Facebook and other social media goes beyond privacy concerns. He believes using commercial products like Facebook in the classroom can lead to distractions and procrastination because obviously Facebook can be used for entertainment purposes.

On the other side of the argument is Ann-Louis Davidson, an assistant professor with the Educational Technology Program at Concordia University. She believes that Facebook and Twitter "have great potential for learning in the classroom." Educators who support using social media, such as Facebook for education, believe it makes sense since social media has become such a big part of students' lives.

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The answer may be to recommend these facebook apps or create optional extra credit assignments for students to do in their free time. This approach can keep your classroom facebook-free while turning students on to using the social networking sensation.

Awesome

Not familiar with Facebook?

If you are interested in using Facebook in class but don't have an account, that means you are actually in very good shape! Accounts are very easy to set up and manage, and not having an account means you can begin with a blank slate. Therefore, students won't be able to see embarrassing photos of you from college!

 

For teachers that already have an account, it might be a good idea to clean it up a bit if you plan to interact with students or create a new account for school purposes. Another option is to stay off Facebook altogether and instead simply recommend that your students use their accounts to interact with each other.

 

Again, using Facebook in the classroom is a very touchy subject. Make sure you check with administration before using any of these applications. Some schools are very much against the use of social media as a teaching tool.

 

Do you think Facebook should be used for teaching? Share your opinion or your favorite fb apps in the comments section!

 

Brian Jenkins, a writer for BrainTrack since 2008, contributes feature articles about high school teaching, among other careers in education.