Facebook in the High School Classroom

Let me start this post out by saying that I love Facebook. I check and update Facebook daily. It has provided me with the opportunity to get in touch with people from high school, college, and law school that I otherwise would not have maintained relationships with due to our busy lives and families. But.... I have always been wary of keeping my personal Facebook life separate from my online professional life (like my Twitter page, my blog, my Podbean page, and email contact with parents and colleagues).

The Webinar

Well, I participated in a webinar yesterday that opened the door to the possiblity of using Facebook with my students in a safe, responsible, and efficient way. Click here to see my notes from the webinar.

Benefits of Using Facebook With Students

Why should we use Facebook to communicate with our students?

  • Students (who must be 13 or older according to Facebook's user policy) are already checking Facebook at least once per day. Although there are exceptions, they are less likely check Edline, Ning, or email unless we require it as part of an assignment. As proof of this, Facebook surpassed Yahoo in January and became the second most visited site on the Internet.

          • It is an easy way to share videos, pictures, and due date calendars with your students. AND, they can share them with each other.
          • The Group Page for your class can be a forum for students to post questions to you and to each other about assignments and projects. Click here for a video on how to create a Group Page for your class.
          • They can share research resoures with each other by posting links.
          • Facebook has lots of great learning apps, like "Mathematical Formulas" and "Flashcards" that aren't as well known as Farmville. You can learn about the top 20 in this video on YouTube.
          • Students can check you class Group on Facebook using mobile devices, not just on their computer. So, they are connected to what is going on in your class at all times!

          Concerns With Using Facebook With Students

          With all of the benefits, there are definitely also concerns:

          • To avoid putting yourself in a difficult position by seeing students personal pictures or updates on Facebook, ask them to create a limited profile. This way, only true "friends" can see their full profile while members of your class Group page will see the protected limited version.
          • If you are planning to post pictures of the students in the class doing work in school or on a field trip, be sure to get parent permission if you want to tag them.
          • You might want to create a Public Figure Page or a Profile that is exclusively for professional use, which is separate from your personal profile. Click here for a great video on how to create a profile.

          You can find out more about Facebook in education in this incredible article called 7 Things You Should Know About Facebook.

          Also, if you are already on Facebook, think about joining the Educators Using Facebook Group for more ideas and discussion from other teachers.

          My Thoughts and Plans

          It is a lot to digest and I want to think more about how I will use Facebook, what guidelines I will set for my students, and how I will inform parents of Facebook's role in my courses. I don't think I'm going to add Facebook to the Web 2.0 part of my class this year, but it will definitely be part of my students' experience in social studies class in 2010-2011!


          1. Kerry,

            Thanks for the posting. It is absolutely a part of my next school year plans as well (might be teaching 8th grade).

            Thanks for the resources and the pause to think.


          2. Try using Ning instead and then you get all the benefits of social networking without the negatives. Check out my action research project that I've posted on my blog if you're interested. http://dbarker.edublogs.org/2010/03/21/finish-action-research-paper-check/

          3. Here is the URL to another article I found (thanks to me PLC on Twitter). It is called "6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes". Just a little more information to help educators make wise choices when using this tool.


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