Blog Assignement #1

Please discuss using Facebook as a support tool for your teaching. Please reference elements discussed in class of any research you may do.

 

The thought of using a social network such as Facebook in a classroom made me frown, at first. For me, Facebook could only be used to keep contact with old friends or to stalk your “friends”’s pictures at three in the morning when you can’t sleep. But I gave it some thought and now, I believe that it can be a very useful tool.

Of course, as it was said in class by Mr Miller, you have to be very careful. Facebook should not be used lightly – you have to really think about what you will be doing before you do it. You have the responsibility as a teacher to assure that it will be used in a clever and secure way. As Mr Miller said, it is not something you plan in the morning for the second period of the same day. You have to plan very carefully how you will use this social network as a tool in your classroom. It is important that you keep things professional, and not let your vacations pictures come up in your News Feed when you open Facebook on your Smart Board in front of the class. Like it was discussed in class, it is a good idea to create a separate account for educative purposes – and what you do on your personal account is your business, even though you have to stay careful. It has been proven that a great percentage of employers check your Facebook account before hiring you. In 2012, it was 37% (http://www.tmprod.com/blog/2012/mind-your-facebook-37-of-employers-are-watching/). With the growth of the importance of social networks, the number must be even more imposing now, in 2014.

Teenagers are everywhere on social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, there are tons. But as a teacher, you have a responsibility towards your students. Facebook itself published something called the ‘’Facebook for Educators and Community Leaders Guide” (http://fr.scribd.com/doc/170926128/Facebook-for-Educators-and-Community-Leaders-Guide), in which they give statistics and recommendations to teachers as to how to deal with social networks in their classroom (and outside). After reading this, it is easy to understand the huge repercussion that social networks have on young students.

But Facebook, or any social network, as we discussed in class, when use intelligently, can be a great tool to use in classrooms. The website OnlineCollege.org published a list of 100 ways to use Facebook in a educational environment (http://www.onlinecollege.org/2012/05/21/100-ways-you-should-be-using-facebook-in-your-classroom-updated/), and it is full of very good and creative ideas. There are a lot of articles like this when you look up the subject on Google. I believe the idea of a secret Facebook group for the class is one of the best ideas. After making sure the group has good security parameters, you can invite the students to join. This could be a good place to share information and advice and to keep contact with your students in an environment that they enjoy.

I personally love social networks, and I strongly believe they can be a lot of fun to use in class. In high school, my French teacher designed a Twitter project called “Un devoir sur Twitter”. Each week, we were assigned a theme and needed to produce a “tweet” of 140 characters or less on that theme. For example, there was one week where we needed to write a short ad. It was a lot of fun, and it used a social network in a very safe, creative way. The project was so innovative and the students appreciated it so much my teacher kept on doing it for a few years. She also decided to integrate Twitter as a real tool in class – during class debates, for example. We can read everything on her school account (https://twitter.com/AnnieSentiers). I am always inspired by her ideas about using more and more technology in class because I remember how much I loved the idea of using Twitter in class as a student.

As for other social networks, such as Instagram, there are tons of ideas on the Internet as to how you can use it efficiently in a classroom – and how to be safe, too (for example, this article talks about Instagram : http://edtechreview.in/news/news/products-apps-tools/777-how-to-use-instagram-in-the-classroom) .

After this, I am now convinced that social networks have their place in a classroom. Of course, as teachers, we have to be extremely careful and to make sure they are used safely. But there is no use denying social networks have taken over the world of teenagers, especially Facebook, so why not use them to create meaningful and interesting projects with our students ? 

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