Facebook is one of the most visited and used websites in the world.
One place that the site doesn’t see much action is in the classroom. That could change, though.
A blog posted on a Boston University educational technology site, “Using Facebook productively in class,” discussed how a college community health professor — after decided the medium could serve as a positive learning resource — created Facebook pages for her classes, which she invited her students to “like.”
The professor, Sophie Godley, made it clear to her students that they did not have to be her Facebook friend and said participation in the pages in voluntary. The pages — there are three — are used to generate student content and discussion, with students past and present being able to interact on the page.
Godley can also post jobs and internship information and said it is relatively painless to manage the pages.
What’s interesting about this development, which is a solid one — the pages provide professor and students with a one-stop stop for information and outside the classroom interaction – is that the professor is quoted as saying students can spare an hour or two away from communicating with others, making particular reference to Facebook.
It seems as though using the medium is working for the professor. But I am still a bit leery of using social media in classroom instruction. I understand the positives: a one-stop shop for information, sites students already check, etc. Leading students to the website also lends itself to be a huge distraction. The professor herself said she thinks students spend too much time on Facebook, yet she promotes the use of the site for her benefit.
I would suggest creating a blog, using Blogger or WordPress and allowing the students to interact there. You could also use that as a way to get students to express their ideas through the creation of their very own blog. You could be teaching a new medium.
With all the information that comes across via Facebook, I think it could be too easy for a teacher’s information to slide through the cracks. Then, if a student misses an assignment or update, who’s at fault?
Facebook is a social medium. Not an educational one.