Facebook: A Learning Tool For Teachers

Back in the fall I posted, Who's On Your Network, which discussed Will Richardson's article in Education Leadership entitled, Footprints in the Digital Age.  One of his recommendations was to join Facebook and to be perfectly honest... I didn't get it. What could I learn as an educator from Facebook?  As luck would have it, my husband's family is very active with Facebook, with Will's urging and their availability I decided to take the plunge.

I have to say I am impressed. I have reconnected with family members, friends from high school and college, and colleagues from previous positions. With Facebook the past and present intersect, letting me in seconds catch up with friends and family.

As an educator, Facebook gives me insight into the why and how students use social networking tools. In fact, I can see why students crave these tools. When you consider that building positive relationships is the corner stone of school improvement, how can we not investigate these tools. My mind is spinning with ideas. Kudos to Will for sharing his insight.


kemeigh said…
And kudos to Kelly for "forcing" us - her staff and friends to try FaceBook. I love it! I,too have been pondering ways to understand the world of our kids and how to apply that to the classroom. One of the strongest ways to learn is through collaboration with others. FaceBook keeps us communicating and collaborating.
lsmith said…
I have been an avid "facebooker" for quite some time now, mostly as a means to reconnect with friends and family that i might not normally communicate with as regularly. What i find most intriguing about the tool, however, is the way in which it disseminates information.

During the election, both of the presidential candidates used facebook as a tool to provide campaign information to supporters or those just looking for more information. To be honest, i was quite surprised at how many of my friends and family were using the information on facebook to discuss politics, to voice their opinion and most importanly get others involved in the campaign no matter what their stance or who they intended to vote for. As someone who reads the newspaper online i found that receiving updates on candidate information via facebook easier than picking up the paper. I was already in the habit of checking my facebook so receiving such information took no extra time on my part!

If facebook had that much of an impact on the election, imagine the other possibilities?!
Anonymous said…
I've used it, but I still don't get it and don't get how to use it in the classroom--guess I need more direct instruction!
Michael Pauling said…
Facebook is a great tool….but a few cautions

•Avoid interactions with students, as mandatory reporters having a student as a “friend” carries risks and responsibilities

•Even if your profile is set to private, pictures and comments may be accessed by others through networks and “friends of friends” depending on settings.

•Consider your professional reputation in anything you post to the web

•I have talked to employers who request applicants to show them their My Space or Facebook page during an interview.

When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web
lsmith said…
It is funny to me that when we talk about the use of new technology and the internet we talk about teaching students how to appropriately use such tools but it is assumed that adults have higher standars...it seems that the post found otherwise. I think that as social networkers we all have a responsibility to use the tools wisely and if you do not, then you get what is deserved. Although i do wonder about the following: should a teacher or any professional for that matter be punished and held responsible for content that another person has posted to their page? Certainly we are all responsible for our own information that is out there but what about the information that is placed on our page by others? I believe that Myspace allows the page author to delete comments, but does Facebook?
dbittner said…
I have been having a lot fun with communicating with fellow staff members,family, and friends through Facebook as well. It is a great way to connect and to reconnect with the people in your life...past and present. I agree with Lindsey that we should be held accountable for what we personally place on our Facebook site, but it does make one feel uneasy about the possibility of being held accountable for the content of others. If Facebook does not have such a control (being able to delete unwanted correspondence on your web page), then I most likely would discontinue its use. There are so many tools on Facebook that I have yet to figure out how to use. Such an editing tool will be a top priority for me to locate and use, if it becomes necessary.
riati said…
I think it is so important for us, as educators, to at least try to understand the world our students are living in. I was utterly amazed when I first joined Facebook at how easy it was to reconnect with old friends, to share ideas, to find like-minded people by joining a group. True we need to be very careful, but we can't hide from the very world our students live in. Having joined Facebook has added a new dimension to my life and a deeper understanding of 21st century living, and the world our students are entering.

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