Last week, we discussed the possibility of using facebook as a teaching tool, here are the different opinions:
- Students are connected to Facebook and use it intensively
- Group management is easy
- It goes beyond the limit of the school schedule-wise
- File sharing is easy
- Difficulty of managing students’ activity on Facebook
- Cyber Bullying
- Contact with strangers
- Irrelevant stuff
- Confusing interface
Here is my personal reflection on the subject. One must render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, Facebook has the ability of being useful as a teaching tool because it is an easy way to reach young people. In fact, PEW research center stated that 94% of teens were using Facebook http://www.pewinternet.org/Commentary/2013/August/Teens-Havent-Abandoned-Facebook-Yet.aspx. So, using Facebook for classroom business, by creating a classroom group, is the easiest way to virtually stay in touch with students. It is also a way to trespass the school boundaries as Facebook users can chat together, so students who need clarification can directly ask the teacher via the classroom group. Furthermore, Facebook possess an extremely user friendly file sharing system, so students and teachers can share homework, projects and instruction easily.
Despite those positive arguments, I don’t think that Facebook should be used as a teaching tool. If one wants to reach students by Facebook he will encounter some trouble. Even if the great majority of teenagers are on Facebook, the use they make of it is somehow problematic. The problem comes from the essence of the site, Facebook is a social network for FRIENDS and is not principally made for school or business. Teenagers uses Facebook as a form of entertainment, stay in touch with friends, play games and share funny stuff or discussing. This is why it is not a good idea to use it in class, they will have the tendency to use it in this way no matter how useful it can be, procrastination will arise http://www.microsoft.com/eu/connected-lifestyles/article/why-teens-really-do-need-social-network-sites.aspx . Furthermore, if you follow the news, Facebook is currently losing popularity in the teenager group http://www.fastcompany.com/3024963/fast-feed/facebooks-teenage-exodus-in-one-chart. This phenomenon is created by the way teens see Facebook, it is not Cool anymore and there are other options like Tumblr and Snapchat that are more entertaining.
It doesn’t mean that technology is teachers’ enemy, it is far from it. If we really want to reach students by the mean of technology there must be solution. Let’s try to take the pros Facebook offers and find something that gives the same pros without the cons. Something like a class forum with notifications directly sent via email to students, that sounds like a reasonable solution. Maybe I will make a log about this solution later on!