Facebook, an educational tool?

Many students have difficulty believing that Facebook can be used as an educational tool for their classes. Some teachers have decided to use this tool for their class and have seen the benefits of it. Nowadays, Facebook is mostly known for friend’s research and the sharing of pictures, links, articles and many more with a group of friends. But we need to remind ourselves that Facebook was originally created as a social networking website exclusive for post-secondary students. Therefore, even though many do not use it for this purpose today, teachers still have the opportunity to use it for educational purposes.

As a teacher, I was surprised that some teachers use Facebook for educational purposes. On this website, I found pros and cons for using Facebook in an educational environment which helped me set my opinion on the subject. Also, I found another website that states why it should be important to allow students to use social media such as Facebook in class. I would use Facebook with my students to have the opportunity to share information rapidly and to be able to help my students more easily with the network. Group work becomes often difficult for students who do not know well their team mates which makes communication harder. With the help of Facebook, my students could share files and information more efficiently as well as informing other class’ students about their project. One important benefit of Facebook is that teenagers are always on it. Whether it is on their computers or on their cellphones, they have access to it quite easily. Consequently, students could not avoid or ignore the group conversation as it would be in their notifications. As a result, homework, exams or oral presentations could not be avoided since they would see the posts about it on their Facebook account which would remind them of their school work. I believe that I could use this tool to post homework and to answer particular questions from my students. Often, when students are home they can get confused about the homework or what was being asked to do. With Facebook, they would have a fast and efficient tool to contact me for any questions or clarifications. In addition, if for some reasons I do not respond rapidly, other students who understood well what was being asked could also help the student. What is primordial for a teacher who uses this tool, is to understand that he or she needs to respond rapidly and be aware of what is happening. As teachers we have a job to do and we are responsible of our students. Therefore, if we see students being mean to one another or we see a student who seems to suffer from depression we have the obligation to help or reach out to them. We are responsible of them and we have the duty to take actions if we see something inappropriate on Facebook, even if it does not concern school. Some teachers are skeptical to use this tool as it implies other types of problem and creates even more obligations for them. However, the benefit of using this tool in class is something that we have to take in consideration too.

Based on these arguments and the discussion I had in class with other teachers on the subject, I believe it is up to every teacher to decide whether or not they want to use it in their classes. However, one cannot deny the positive effects that technology has on students, has they become easily motivated because most of them like everything that is new and unusual for class. By using Facebook in class, let’s challenge the meaning they have of the network and make it useful for something other than their social life.

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