Whether you like it or not, social media has seeped into every aspect of our lives. And nowhere can its presence be felt more keenly than in education. The social networking site is increasingly being used by schools to share academic resources, communicate with students and promote academic engagement outside the classroom.
In May 2013, there were a reported 1.1 billion Facebook users around the world. This makes it a potentially rich tool for teaching and learning.
Education think tank, The Education Foundation, has recently launched a one-of-a-kind resource with information on how Facebook can be used in classrooms. A series of workshops were conducted at Facebook HQ which looked into the opportunities and challenges of using Facebook as a tool for education.
The guide examines ways teachers can use the site for formal learning, out of school hours learning and wider applications. For instance, Facebook Groups can be used to:
- Create a space for revision resource.
- Set homework tasks.
- Communicate with parents.
- Enable group project work.
- Enable language students to speak to exchange partners overseas.
- Set events for exams and essay deadlines.
- Collaborate with and learn from other teachers.
- Organise a sports team.
If your school needs help getting started with Facebook, maybe the following tips outlined by the guide can help you:
• Talk to ICT – Identify and unblock Facebook access restrictions for teachers first so you can test ideas and projects with colleagues.
• Start simple – Experiment with the use of a Facebook Page or Group where you can test the tools and technology.
• Privacy – If you are working directly with students – adjust your own privacy and security settings on Facebook and get them to do the same.
• Start outside the classroom – Consider starting to use Facebook in an out of school hours learning activity like a sports team or drama group.
• Test ideas – Use fellow staff members and pupils to explore what works and doesn’t work to develop and test your ideas across subjects to extend the reach of the initial project, informally test and evaluate its impact.
You can view more information in the Facebook for Educators guide available here.
- Facebook Teachers’ Guide launched (telegraph.co.uk)