Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 reasons teachers should avoid Facebook

Teachers like Facebook. Jeff Utecht, a self-described "educator, presenter, consultant" recently evangelized about Facebook:

It's not fair to pick on Jeff--he's one of an army of teachers leading the charge to a world of awesome goodness if only those other teachers educators would get it....

I'm one of those old farts resisting Facebook in the classroom. I have my reasons, and I think they're good ones. Here are just a few:

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark is Facebook's CEO.

Here's his T-shirt:

Here's a business card:


"I'm CEO....Bitch"

I don't trust him. I don't deliver my children to someone I do not trust. Nor should you.


Advertisements


Facebook exists to sell your soul, or at least your "lifestyle." It is a commercial site that makes big bucks on directed advertisements. Kids don't get this.

Apparently, adults don't either.

We have no business promoting any activity that exposes children to targeted ads. None.

I once helped keep Channel One out of my school for the same reason. I was quoted in the New York Times back when I was a pediatrician and folks cared what I said.

Teachers want the same kind of respect, we need to start acting in the best interests of the kids.


Too close

Remember when you were in high school? Remember the teacher (or two) who seemed a little too chummy with the lambs?

Don't be that guy. It's creepy. The kids know this even if you don't.

Facebook is primarily a social tool, designed to deliver ads designed for you. It is not, and was never intended to be, an educational tool.

The kids don't want you hanging around with them after school. Really.


Privacy
Mark "I'm CEO....Bitch" Zuckerberg keeps changing the rules on Facebook.

I'm one of the few folks on the planet that reads EUA's. They can be pretty scary. Read Facebook's for comprehension, then tell me straight-faced that you're comfortable with it.


Professional laziness

I used to be a professional. Now I am a teacher.

I love teaching, and I'm getting pretty good at it, but it takes an ungodly amount of hours to get there.

Facebook is a shortcut. You're using a third party with its own agenda to create something useful for your classroom.

You want to model good practice? Develop your own class website on a private domain. You can do it for less than the Coffee Club dues.

Yes, there's a learning curve. No, it's not free, but it's still less than a cup of coffee a day.

You have control over privacy.
Your site has no ads.
You're no one's bitch.

We have a choice. We can act like professionals, or we can continue to take the easier paths. The two are not compatible.

Our primary duty is to the children. If you use a third party to do your work, follow the money.

It's not enough to adopt a technology because everybody else is doing it. We got mobs for that.

34 comments:

mrcmyoung said...

I agree with you one hundred percent. Especially regarding Too Close. I believe a certain amount of professional distance is not only healthy, it's necessary. The kids know this too. I had a great deal of resect for most of my teachers, learned a great deal from them, and friendship (virtual or otherwise) had nothing to do with it.

John Spencer said...

I have mixed feelings on this.

I have a Luddite streak. I teach tech criticism while using netbooks. You know that, so I'm not sure why I'm bringing it up.

I hate Facebook. I hate their privacy issues, their manipulation of people, their agribusiness and organized crime games and the obsessive-compulsive-narcissism-meets-voyeurism. So, yeah, they suck.

I also like things local.

My students have four blogs:
1. A personal blog they read - just them.
2. A blog that only I read.
3. A blog they write that fellow classmates read.
4. Social Voice - a very public blog.

We have used Ning before and we might use Schoology. Both are "social networks," but can function as a course management system.

Still, my goal is local.

So here's where the mixed feelings come in. I have a few former students who follow me on Twitter. I don't block them. I follow them back. I have a few former students who e-mail me questions about social studies or who need help editing a paper. I help them. I will be social and I hope I'm not seeming creepy.

But when I was on Facebook I always turned them down as friends - even in high school. The word "friend" was enough for me. We're not chums. However, I know I really hurt a few of them with this decision, which is why it gets muddled.

Jerrid Kruse said...

I agree with John - this is not quite so clear cut. For my disclaimer (cause that's what it is), I encouraged my students to critically examine technology, I had them reading Postman excerpts, i had them discussing how technology creates inequity, how technology shapes our culture in negative ways...; however, I encouraged the use of social media...so that we could better critique it. Just like all learning, if we have no experience on which to build our abstract ideas, the learning will not be as deep.

I whole heartedly agree with what you say. The edtech phenomenon is out of control and very few people are making decisions regarding tech use (they think they are deciding, but a decision usually weighs two options - for too many people the only option is to use X technology, then their decision is "how". The real decision they ought be wrestling with is "if".) Sorry, off on a tangent.

Some pushback for you (I don't necessarily buy these arguments, but they are worth noting):

1) You use google, your students use google. They have the exact same (if not worse since you don't have to agree to anything) advertising scheme. They collect a lot of data on me without my permission, at least Facebook asks permission.

2) If teachers should just make their own website, why not write their own textbook as well? If facebook, or ning, or whatever, suites the goals they have for students they should use it (they can have a course page without "friending" students).

-now i really don't buy this one, because I am somewhat anti-textbooks, so my analogy doesn't hold much water for me.

Anyway, just some thoughts from a different perspective.

John Spencer said...

I actually considered writing a textbook for my students. I hated the history textbook so much that I thought I would write my own textbook and include within it excerpts that were Creative Commons / Public Domain works - a whole history textbook with conflict and paradox spread throughout. I came to the conclusion, though, that I am not enough of an expert on the subject to do that.

doyle said...

Dear mrcmyoung,

I think the blurring of boundaries between student and teacher (or even kids and adults) is my biggest concern. Children need spaces of their own.

The whole 24/7 thing is creepy. I used to be a pediatrician, truly accessible 24/7. It's not as much fun as it sounds.


Dear John,

Emailing students makes sense. It's the professional's tool for communication, and requires a tad of patience on the student's end. It's also potentially more private though it has its own issues.

I think if you let your students know upfront what your policy is on FB, then they won't get their feelings hurt when not "friended"--the (evil) genius of FB is its ability to form transparent social hierarchies. People do care if "friended" or not, and that's sad.


Dear Jerrid,

Welcome to the Techno-Luddite Club.

As for the pushback"

1) Google Apps for Education do not use ads nor is it data-mined, at least not yet. (I worry about Google being the Walmart of the Internet world, though they do treat their employees a whole lot better.)

Also, Google is simply the best search engine I know of out there--I'm open to suggestions, though.

I cannot buy a private, customizable version of Google. (Well, maybe I could if I were Gates, but certainly not on a teacher's salary.) FB is one of thousands of social sites--it just happens to be the top dog at the moment.

FWIW, I have refused to use blogger in class just for the reasons you posed.

2) Textbooks serve a different purpose than websites, though I do believe that a well-crafted website with a thoughtful teacher acting as a curator to the links can produce a body of knowledge superior to textbooks.

Textbooks are a convenient jumping point, and they have nice pictures. Well-crafted textbooks have a place in class, but that's a post for another day.

You raise great points, especially in regards to Google's data-mining/ads. I am flabbergasted that most professionals seem oblivious to the concerns.

doyle said...

Dear John,

I suspect that in your career, you will write a few "textbooks" (whatever form they take). You are already taking charge of your students' learning--your blog shows others the way.

Tom Bremer said...

I think it is all in the way you use it.
You raise valid points--all things that should be taken into consideration. That said, I don't think it is fair to say that facebook cannot be used in a positive way.

Check this blog post: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2010/07/8-real-ways-facebook-enriched-ms.html, and click through the Prezi.

Educators work in an environment where it can be hard to communicate with parents, and get buy-in to personal blogs and websites. Facebook could be a good in between solution.

I have yet to use facebook myself... But I would rather use it as a "group" function so announcements could end up in parent newsfeeds. I have a policy of never friending students--even graduates.

Mark Moran said...

This post makes some powerful points; I posted a comment on Jeff's blog urging him not to ignore the privacy concerns; as a veteran of the Internet advertising industry who negotiated the first self-regulatory framework with the FTC, I find FB's practices shocking and disturbing. But your post also ignores a reality; you're not being asked to lead students to FB; they found it on their own, and they are already using it all day long. Used properly, it can be a very effective teaching tool. You can implement your own tools that give you greater control, but you may find they do not embrace it nearly as avidly as they would a FB page. In response to the comments of others, you do not have to "friend" your students and read all their status updates and let them read yours; rather, you create your own teacher page that students "like;" the only interaction with them on FB is them reading, and responding on, your teacher page.

jimmylogan said...

I am going to send this link to my staff - we are just beginning to have a "real" conversation about this. I am the type to encourage things like this and move toward unblocking and educating. My co-working in technology is against it 100%. She would enjoy this post, if she read blogs at all. LOL

Thanks for the alternative perspective. I don't agree with you, but it's interesting and is making me think...

doyle said...

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your words, and your point seems reasonable. Still, it just isn't that hard to log into a private class website.

The "buy in" to the class website is the class--if you put kids' words up there, as well as photos, videos, music clips, whatever--the site becomes theirs.

They might even link parts of the site to Facebook for their friends to see. That's all fine and dandy. The distinction may seem subtle, but it matters.

The telephone and regular mail still work wonders with parents. Face to face works even better. I live in town so I frequently run into parents anyway.

I never said FB cannot be used in a positive way--even plutonium has its good days. I said it should be avoided by teachers as a classroom tool. The cost is simply too high to pay if we want to maintain the high ground as professionals.

doyle said...

Dear Mark,

Thanks for visiting. My post does not "ignore[s] a reality"--I just don't think that FB should be used as a class tool for the reasons I listed (and a few more I did not).

I know the students are using it--heck, I'm using it, too--but that's not a reason to adopt it as a class tool.

Ale is good stuff--it brings joy to my life, and in the right doses, is healthier than milk. I love it so much I even brew it. Still, I would not use ale to enhance my students' joy in class.

Yes, FB can serve many functions for a class, but it has a price. FB has alternatives. We use FB more for expediency and convenience than for the good of our children.

If we want to be professionals, we need to act professionally. We need to invest some time and money into our practices. Choosing a tool with potential downsides for our children to do something we can do on our own anyway degrades our status.

doyle said...

Dear jimmylogan,

Thanks for stopping by.

I am particularly interested in why folks disagree with me, especially when they say I make them think.

I am not, however, arguing whether Facebook should be blocked--that's another issue, and I need to dwell on that a bit. I am, however, strongly opposed to teachers using Facebook as a classroom tool.

No children should be need to go to FB, a commercial site with a checkered history of privacy gaffs, as part of their formal public schooling.

I hope you share your staff's thoughts on this.

Alec Couros said...

I wanted to quickly respond to this post (thanks for this). First off, I'll say that I agree with you for the most part. Personally, I've not been a fan of teachers using Facebook in the classroom, and when it comes up, I've stated that: a) there are huge privacy concerns and marketing, b) beware the 'creepy treehouse' (see Jared Stein), and c) there are better alternatives. But, I'd still like to go through your points to give you my 2 cents.

a) Mark Zuckerberg - no contest, I don't trust him either, and he's fairly forthright in public re: his deeper ambitions (whether intentionally or accidentally).

b) Advertisments - yes, huge issue. But, based on this, one should look more closely at advertising & product placement more broadly. I see someone has already brought up Google, and you've somewhat defended that. I'd say Google is a much bigger & blatant threat that you may have conceded (even IF it's the greatest search tool). More closely to the classroom, there is the M$ infiltration. No advertising, per se, but huge penetration in schools, and thus, students are more likely to choose M$ in their future careers. Why else is live@edu (or Google Apps) free? Simply market penetration & brand penetration (with a whole lot of data mining). Obviously, this is a great case for a F/OSS classroom (out with Windows/Office and in with Gnu/Linux/OOo.

c) Closeness - I know what you mean here about closeness, but at the same time, I think a genuine type of closeness is what we are missing most in schools. This doesn't have to come via Facebook (by any means), but the tendency to have more sterile relationships with kids is a huge detriment to any lasting relevance of our school system. Obviously, much of this has been pushed by overt PC-type policies, issues about liability, harassment, etc. Closeness is not the enemy - creepiness, and policies (and a society) that see all forms of closeness as creepiness is a much bigger threat. Solutions for this: I know of few if any - but I thought it was a valid point.

d) Privacy - huge deal, but of course, not exclusive to Facebook. At the same time, if there were to be any pedagogy re: Facebook, I think it would be to help students understand privacy/publics issues with Facebook (e.g., digital citizenship). While, it could be done via other methods, or even someone simulated through, say, a Ning, there would be a missing, simulative element.

e) Professional laziness - laziness, perhaps for some - but I'd say a lack of technical know-how for most. I know how easy it is to run my own domain, but most teachers I know don't have a clue. Until school leadership acknowledges this as an important skill, teachers aren't going to run out and do this (or even know that this is important).

Overall - I believe that the more data/environments that we can (as teachers/schools) control/host, the better. With that, eventually, we need to help students also figure out how to do this themselves - eventually migrating their work to their own, digital spaces.

Thanks for your post. Again, I agree with most of what you said, but wanted to dive deeper into your thought a bit more.

Cheers.

Alec Couros said...

I wanted to quickly respond to this post (thanks for this). First off, I'll say that I agree with you for the most part. Personally, I've not been a fan of teachers using Facebook in the classroom, and when it comes up, I've stated that: a) there are huge privacy concerns and marketing, b) beware the 'creepy treehouse' (see Jared Stein), and c) there are better alternatives. But, I'd still like to go through your points to give you my 2 cents.

a) Mark Zuckerberg - no contest, I don't trust him either, and he's fairly forthright in public re: his deeper ambitions (whether intentionally or accidentally).

b) Advertisments - yes, huge issue. But, based on this, one should look more closely at advertising & product placement more broadly. I see someone has already brought up Google, and you've somewhat defended that. I'd say Google is a much bigger & blatant threat that you may have conceded (even IF it's the greatest search tool). More closely to the classroom, there is the M$ infiltration. No advertising, per se, but huge penetration in schools, and thus, students are more likely to choose M$ in their future careers. Why else is live@edu (or Google Apps) free? Simply market penetration & brand penetration (with a whole lot of data mining). Obviously, this is a great case for a F/OSS classroom (out with Windows/Office and in with Gnu/Linux/OOo.

c) Closeness - I know what you mean here about closeness, but at the same time, I think a genuine type of closeness is what we are missing most in schools. This doesn't have to come via Facebook (by any means), but the tendency to have more sterile relationships with kids is a huge detriment to any lasting relevance of our school system. Obviously, much of this has been pushed by overt PC-type policies, issues about liability, harassment, etc. Closeness is not the enemy - creepiness, and policies (and a society) that see all forms of closeness as creepiness is a much bigger threat. Solutions for this: I know of few if any - but I thought it was a valid point.

d) Privacy - huge deal, but of course, not exclusive to Facebook. At the same time, if there were to be any pedagogy re: Facebook, I think it would be to help students understand privacy/publics issues with Facebook (e.g., digital citizenship). While, it could be done via other methods, or even someone simulated through, say, a Ning, there would be a missing, simulative element.

e) Professional laziness - laziness, perhaps for some - but I'd say a lack of technical know-how for most. I know how easy it is to run my own domain, but most teachers I know don't have a clue. Until school leadership acknowledges this as an important skill, teachers aren't going to run out and do this (or even know that this is important).

Overall - I believe that the more data/environments that we can (as teachers/schools) control/host, the better. With that, eventually, we need to help students also figure out how to do this themselves - eventually migrating their work to their own, digital spaces.

Thanks for your post. Again, I agree with most of what you said, but wanted to dive deeper into your thought a bit more.

Cheers.

jimmylogan said...

"No children should be need to go to FB, a commercial site with a checkered history of privacy gaffs, as part of their formal public schooling."

I don't think it's so much a NEED as it is a tool that CAN be used if used properly.

BTW - my co-worker shares your thoughts on 'building a private site." She says that WE (the district) should be able to give them anything they need. But, as another commenter said, don't expect it to be embraced like FB is... FB is established and is being used anyway. I'd rather see teachers use what's there and, more importantly, using what the students are already using and hopefully teach them something about digital citizenship in the process.

IOW - we (public education) had a chance to be the ultimate social networking tool and we blew it early on by blocking things that were out of our control. I think it's too late in the game to make a FB alternative that the kids will use. Instead, we have to go where they are...

Jim Grogan said...

With any public social networking site we need to "proceed with caution". As educators we ask ourselves many questions. Allow me to list:
1. Parents may not want their children on FB at all.
2. Do you want adults chatting with your children at all hours or ever?
3. Dating service ads abound on FB.
4. In many states teachers must report images seen of children acting inappropriately.
5. Harmless banter can be misinterpreted.
And so on.
The ease of FB does not outweigh potential dangers.

Jeff Utecht said...

Great conversation! I agree with most that it's not a cut and dry issue. But you have to fall on one side or the other. I guess we just fall on opposite sites. :)

I find it interesting that you don't allow your students to use blogger but you do. If you feel it's not safe for kids why do you feel it's safe for you? And when is the age when it should be safe? How makes that decision?

All of our students grades 4-12 have one blog that is open to the world, where we are teaching them how to and what to communicate on the web. http://blogs.isb.ac.th

Facebook isn't all you should do, but teaching/learning about social-networks should be something we cover in a larger conversation of how to communicate and live in a digital world.

Thanks for the conversation! Has me thinking!

doyle said...

Dear jimmylogan,

It becomes a "need" when the teacher uses the site for class.

As far as using "what's there," if the cost exceeds the benefits, and an alternative is available, then we have no business using FB for class purposes. I have no problem if folks want to use it for themselves--even this Luddite has a FB page--but we have a higher responsibility when we teach.

doyle said...

Dear Jim Grogan,

I agree that there are a lot of reasons FB is a poor choice as a class tool.

I agree--ease of use is not sufficient justification for using a site with as many pitfalls as FB.

Thanks for dropping by.

doyle said...

Dear Jeff,

I do a lot of things I do not allow my kids to do--but I'd be a fool to buy a student a round at the bar.

We are in a position of tremendous power--we abuse it when we require children to use a tool for the classroom we believe could potentially harm the kids.

I'm a bit confused, though--the issue was FB, not blogger. I use neither in the classroom.

I agree we should be teaching about social networks--I might even consider showing my students Facebook in the classroom so they can better understand its problems. My problem is using Facebook as a tool itself given its problems.

The age issue is interesting, but so long as the teacher has more power than his charges, he has an ethical responsibility to consider how his charges may be affected. I would not use FB were I teaching adult medical students either.

Thanks for your words--I hope the conversation continues.

doyle said...

Dear Alec,

First, an apology--Blogger just instituted a new spam filter, your comment got caught, and I had no idea where the spam filter file was. Now I know.

I'd say Google is a much bigger & blatant threat that you may have conceded.

You are right--privately I've been wrestling with this for a long time. Most people have no idea how powerful data mining is, and to serve the kids up to Google's machine has huge ethical implications the vast majority of us choose to ignore.

I'd be very interested in further thoughts on this-- maybe you can post this.

...the tendency to have more sterile relationships with kids is a huge detriment to any lasting relevance of our school system.

Again, I agree with the thrust, but question how we get there, as you do, too.

It helps that I live in town, go to school events, run a club, and have run into many of the students before they ever entered high school.

At the same time, if there were to be any pedagogy re: Facebook, I think it would be to help students understand privacy/publics issues with Facebook (e.g., digital citizenship).

This is why I am on the fence about blocking FB--we need to discuss social media authentically, and FB is a great case study.

"Professional laziness" probably could have been worded better, but while there's a learning curve to developing our tech tools, our professional worthiness depends on a commitment to continue to hone our craft.

When I was in medicine, we had a continuous barrage of new tools. A doc has to stay on top of the new tools, critically assess what's worthwhile, then learn how to use them.

Still, I wasn't fair--many of our best teachers could teach with just a stick and bare ground. Until we figure out just what we're trying to accomplish in public schools here in the States, many teachers will stick to what has worked for them.

Thanks for your thoughtful points.

nashworld said...

I'll play along... http://nashworld.edublogs.org/2010/08/29/how-close-is-too-close/

Bud Hunt said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this post. We don't block Facebook in my district - but I don't encourage its use, either.

I'll take students and teachers there; I'll talk about its influence on school and home life. I have a Facebook account.

But I won't teach there. Not now. And I don't think other folks should, either.

Michael Walker said...

Interesting post, and great comments. About a year and a half ago, I had the chance to speak with sophomores in our district. I read a blog post to them from Doug "Blue Skunk" Johnson, regarding why he doesn't block sites like Facebook in his district (Facebook: An Educational Resource?). After reading the post, I asked the kids how many of them thought that access to Facebook at school would enhance their learning. Of the 180 students I questioned that day, 9 said yes. The 9 all had excellent reasons how they would use it to enhance their learning. The rest: "it would be too big of a distraction."

doyle said...

Dear nashworld,

Great post--I think you may have wounded me a bit. I strongly recommend that others go read it.



Dear Bud,

Thanks for the words--you carry a lot of weight in the edutech world.


Dear Michael,

Doug Johnson should be required reading for everybody teaching kids.

Your students displayed good insight--maybe some of us could take the cue.

Thanks for dropping by!

Devin Schoening said...

The big key in this debate lies in the use of the tool. No one in their right mind is saying that Facebook should be a major part of any classroom (in terms of the amount of time engaged in the activity, or the role that it plays) but if used properly, and carefully, it can be a powerful tool.

There are clear alternatives to using Facebook as a classroom tool, but the way Facebook has integrated itself into the current global culture, makes it extremely useful for teachers and schools.

I am not saying that teachers should be friends with students. It's not about being "a little too chummy with the lambs" it's about offering a learning experience (no matter how small during the day) that elicits authentic feedback from an audience that extends far past the teacher's desk.(Among many other positive aspects)

Privacy and ads are a concern, but a responsible educator watches what is going on and controls that material to ensure the students are working in a safe environment.

The parents in the first grade classroom Facebook project absolutely love the access they have to what their children are doing in school, and they get that information in a space they are already inhabiting - Facebook. The parents - who aren't always engaged to a degree where they will navigate their way to a class website, blog or wiki - are now aware of, and participating in (to a certain extent) their child's education.

Using Facebook, or any other tool really, is completely up to the teacher/school/district. And, it is imperative that the tool (again, any tool) is used responsibly and purposefully.

Some are going to see the benefits, and some will focus on the possible problems.

UltimateTeacher said...

I'm on the fence on this issue but can see your concerns. While it may not be ideal to have students on your personal facebook page, it wouldn't hurt to get them on a fan page.

The ads can be annoying but there is a filter to adjust unwanted ads.

I agree that there are tons of other great sights out there that the teacher can use.

While it may not be the best platform, it does have a huge audience already there. As teachers it's crucial to teach our students how to behave appropriately both on and off the web. If not us, than who?

Jeff Thomas said...

I couldn't disagree more! I have always believed that the user should control the technology, not the other way around! Facebook is no different than most of these sites and by the way if you don't think that Google mines the data, well --

Finally, the line that sticks out in your post for me is "I used to be a professional--now I'm a teacher." Is there a difference?

Facebook used properly can be a powerful tool for educators. Not the least of which it is an easy way for newbies to understand social media.

http://techtheplunge.com

doyle said...

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...."


Dear Devin,

Some folks, whatever state of mind they might be in, are in fact using FB as a major means of communication for their classroom.

The big key in this debate lies in the use of the tool.

Which debate? I'm arguing about the tool itself, for the reasons I listed. These are "possible" problems--they are real, actual problems.

Privacy and ads are a concern, but a responsible educator watches what is going on and controls that material to ensure the students are working in a safe environment.

I'd be obliged if you'd teach us just how that can reasonably be done.

I agree that FB has snuggled itself into our culture--but that's hardly a standard or a reason to bring it into the classroom given its problems.

doyle said...

Dear Ultimate Teacher,

(I love your moniker!)

Which ads count as not "unwanted"?

Again, I have no problem showing children FB to illustrate my concerns; I have a problem using it as a teacher-sanctioned classroom tool.

Since most of my critics agree that alternatives are available, maybe time could be better spent teaching children how to use them.

Using FB for expediency's sake alone teaches a profoundly bad lesson, a message, alas, they get all the time in our throw-away culture.

Thanks for dropping by.

doyle said...

Dear Jeff Thomas,

I couldn't disagree more!

I bet you could.


I have always believed that the user should control the technology, not the other way around!

I wish it was a simple issue of belief; alas, it is not, for reasons more complex to dive into in a post reply, but peruse my other posts, and the reasons may become apparent.


Facebook is no different than most of these sites...

Um, what sites?


"...and by the way if you don't think that Google mines the data, well --

Take a peek at "Gaggle on Google"--I'm hip, I'm hip.


Finally, the line that sticks out in your post for me is "I used to be a professional--now I'm a teacher." Is there a difference?

Glad you asked! Wander over to Dina Strasser's The Line--she'll be posting my views on that September 5th.

edtgraff said...

I teach High School and 95% of my students are already using FB to mail, chat, share, collaborate, etc. I also do not 'friend' students, but I have created a voluntary FB group for students in my classes to use.
I'm still trying to figure out how I can use it to actually improve learning (the ultimate goal), but the students are going to use FB whether I do or not.
I want to use technology that students are already comfortable and familiar with.

doyle said...

Dear edtgraff,

If 5% of your students need to use a social network with the problems listed to participate in your class, then you should not be using it.

There are alternatives.

I want to use technology that students are already comfortable and familiar with.

If we want children to learn how to use networking effectively, teachers might be more useful encouraging students to try new challenges. Directing a child to a personalized class website shows her life beyond FB, life under her control.

Heck, she might even want to learn a little HTML.....

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