This post started as a response to Lisa Nielsen’s (The Innovative Educator)’s post, Advice for Choosing Pages, Groups or Profiles When Using Facebook for Education. It’s a great post - chock-full of information for educators sorting through the “to friend or not to friend dilemma.” By the time I reached, 500 words, I realized my comments had evolved into a blog post. So Lisa, here is my “comment.”
|World of student responses (click to enlarge)|
Last week, we had two student groups submit video contest entries in a national contest with 1st prize cash award of $3,000 (for the school library). Naturally, students procrastinated until the very last minute. Both projects were completed in two days. The entire effort for both groups was coordinated through Facebook.
|Students at Ivy League Model UN Conference 1/29/11 Philadelphia, PA|
When I chaperoned the Model UN trip to Philadelphia last January, we planned everything through Facebook - snow day arrangements, meal times and preferences, dietary restrictions, meeting times, locating students, documenting their achievements, etc...
I am faculty advisor to a very small international virtual co-curricular club for students with an interest in collaborative video and web design projects (it is still in its infancy and if you have a candidate for the club, please get in touch!). We tried coordinating our communications in three different platforms before finally settling on Facebook. It is our club’s only hope for survival.
When our juniors start working on their research paper for English, we instruct them to log their research process in Facebook groups. I follow their process, and add suggestions here and there, but they also need to reflect on their peers' process. It is a collective learning experience, not a teacher-directed one. We developed a rubric for this to guide them through the process. Over the past three years, we have experimented with a number of platforms for this exchange – none of which engaged learners as Facebook has.
What people seldom mention in all this talk about whether or not teachers should "friend" students is how it changes productivity. Not one of the aforementioned experiences would have been possible if I wasn’t Facebook friends with hundreds of students.
I also write about “Facebook friending” in my Open Letter to the Westport Board of Education.