By Teachers, For Teachers
While 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 applications designed to educate.
Here are some of the popular Facebook applications used inside and outside the classroom to help students learn:
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.
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.
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.
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.