If you are a high school teacher you know that most of your students have a Facebook account. You know that they are more likely to be on Facebook than email! You know that you would rather not know what exactly they are posting on their personal Facebook accounts. You also know there is a lot of controversy over whether teachers should have Facebook accounts (and if they should "friend" their students). However, future employers and professionals may find ways to access students' 5+ year old Facebook accounts. As a result, educators could take advantage of students interest in Facebook by integrating the tool into learning and teaching studnets how to set up an appropriate profile and post on Facebook without harming their professional futures. For example Larry Liu is a high school English teacher who has been using Facebook to communicate with his students. He set up his own classroom teacher Facebook page and posts assignments, homework help, and reminders. In addition Larry allows students to post projects to the Facebook page. For example he asks his students to find examples of everyday psychology in their lives outside of school. His students can use their cell phones to take pictures or videos and send them to his Facebook page. He also talked with his students about "cleaning up" their profiles, pictures, and posts so they were appropriate for adults to view.
Why I am talking about a social networking site on a cell phones in learning blog? Because Facebook has SMS texting and photo/video posting functions that could easily be used to collect and share data in classroom assignments. For example, every Facebook page has a "subscribe via SMS" button underneath the profile picture. Therefore, if the classroom teacher creates a facebook page for the classroom, every student can subscribe to the posts, images, and videos via cell phone.
Teachers can use the Facebook page to communicate about classroom information, at the same time they can also use the page as a place for students to post and share research that they collect. This can easily be done by having the studnets tag (with their teacher's account Facebook name) their photos or videos so they directly post in the teacher's account. Thus sharing the research with all the studnets in the class, at the same time giving the teacher utlimate control of the account (since it is their own).
In addition, by using Facebook as a learning tool, it gives teachers an opportunity to talk with their students about how to create an appropriate profile and how to "clean up" their profiles so they are appropriate for the teacher or their parents' to view. Students need to understand digital safety on Facebook and other social networking sites. Using Facebook for an educative purpose may be a smart way to start social networking education at the high school level.
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Cell Phones in Learning by Liz Kolb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Based on a work at cellphoneseinlearning.com. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://cellphonesinlearning.com.