Facebook isn’t just a great way for you to find old friends or learn about what’s happening this weekend, it is also an incredible learning tool. Teachers can utilize Facebook for class projects, for enhancing communication, and for engaging students in a manner that might not be entirely possible in traditional classroom settings. Read on to learn how you can be using Facebook in your classroom, no matter if you are a professor, student, working online, or showing up in person for class.
The following ideas are just a starting point for class projects that can be used with Facebook in the classroom.
1.Follow news feeds. Have students follow news feeds relevant to the course material in order to keep current information flowing through the class.
2.Share book reviews. Students can post their book reviews for the instructor to grade and other students to read. If it’s a peer-reviewed project, then students can more easily access each other’s papers online.
3.Knighthood. Playing this game promotes strong reading skills. This teacher explains how he used it with his ESL class.
4.Poll your class. Use polls as an interactive teaching tool in class or just to help facilitate getting to know one another with the Poll app for Facebook.
5.Practice a foreign language. Students learning a foreign language can connect with native speakers through groups or fan opportunities such as this one.
6.Create your own news source. A great way for journalism students to practice their craft, use the Facebook status update feed as a breaking news source for sports results, academic competition results, and other campus news.
7.Follow news stories. Keep up with news through Facebook on groups like World News Webcast that provides video clips of world news.
8.Keep up with politicians. Political science students can become fans of politicians in order to learn about their platforms and hear what they have to say first hand.
9.Create apps for Facebook. A class at Stanford started doing this in 2007 and still has a Facebook group profiling their work. A class at Berkeley also did the same.
10.Participate in a challenge. Look for challenges like the one held by Microsoft and Direct Marketing Educational Foundation that challenges undergrads and grad students to create usable products for Microsoft in return for experience and, in some cases, certification.
11.Bring literature to life. Create a Facebook representation of a work of literature like this class did.
An excellent way to ensure students are more engaged in the learning experience is by strengthening the communication between students and student-to-teacher. These are just a few ideas to do just that.
12.Create groups. You can create groups for entire classes or for study groups with smaller subsets of students that allow for easy sharing of information and communication, without students even having to friend each other.
13.Schedule events. From beginning of semester mixers to after-finals celebrations, easily schedule events for the entire class using Facebook.
14.Send messages. From unexpected absences to rescheduling exams, it’s easy to send messages through Facebook.
15.Share multimedia. With the ability to post videos, photos, and more, you can share multimedia content easily with the entire class.
16.Post class notes. Post notes after each class period for students to have access for review or in case they were absent.
17.Provide direct communication with instructors. Instructors and students can contact each other through Facebook, providing an opportunity for better sharing of information and promoting better working relationships.
18.Allows shy students a way to communicate. Shy students who may not want to approach their teacher after class or during office hours can use Facebook to communicate.
19.Facilitate classmate connections. When students get to know each other more intimately, they become more involved in the learning experience. This is helpful in both large classes that wouldn’t normally promote such intimacy and in smaller settings that regularly depend on that connection.
20.Make announcements. Instructors can send out reminders about upcoming tests, upcoming due dates, or any classroom news.
21.Brainstorm. Students can have the ability to add their thoughts to the class any time they occur allows for more opportunities for brainstorming off each other.
Share interesting websites. Students and instructors alike can post interesting websites that add relevancy to the class.
22.Post homework. Posting homework through Facebook not only provides easy access for students, it also puts in writing specifically what is expected and when it is due.
23.Grassroots movements. Students at University of British Columbia learned that the weight room at their aquatic center was slated for closure, and through Facebook, won to keep it open.
Why use Facebook with your class? Here are some of the benefits you may see when you decide to use Facebook as a learning tool.
24.Inviting atmosphere. Since Facebook isn’t exclusively the instructor’s any more than it is the students’, this offers students an opportunity for active participation on a level playing field.
25.Students are comfortable with Facebook. Most students are already users of Facebook, so implementing it into class provides a comfortable way for students to participate in class.
26.Informal. The informality inherent in Facebook’s connections lend to yet another reason students may be more willing to participate in class activities here.
27.Promotes collaboration. Facebook’s design promotes social interchange between participants, thereby increasing collaboration between students working on activities.
28.Keeps schools current. Mark Federman asserts that universities must move from a skills-centered approach to learning to one of connectivity to stay relevant to students.
29.Students engaged outside of class. When students are accessing the class content more often, that means they will be thinking about and engaging in the lessons more frequently.
30.Ambient awareness. Facebook provides an excellent opportunity for students and instructors to participate in ambient awareness, a way of getting to know those you follow on social networks in more meaningful ways.
31.Teach personal responsibility. Instructors can take this opportunity to teach students how to responsibly use Facebook and other social networking sites so it helps their future–not the opposite.