Facebook as a pedagogical tool

Hi guys! This article on my blog aims to reflect on the use of the social media, Facebook, as a pedagogical tool. The objective of this reflection is to discover possible relevant practises that social networking provides. In order to do so, I read articles about that specific topic which quotes and ideas support my previous opinion and open my mind on new perspectives that suggest and exemplify constructive approach to Facebook use.
Sincerely, I never thought about considering Facebook as a pedagogical tool for classroom and for the extension of the classroom. The article “The consideration of Facebook as an academic tool by ICT lecturers across five countries” had me reflect on the fact that Facebook can offers advantages for collaborative work, student’s participation and engagement as well as cooperation for sharing skills and be helpful to our classmates.
In this article a specific questions caught my attention: “If you would consider applying Facebook as an academic tool, please provide a reason why you would use it? “ (p.5, 6).
The five countries involved in this response sharing about this question are South Africa; United States of America; Canada; United Kingdom and Australia. Mainly the response was divided into 3 meaningful features to me:
a) “Group work and interactivity”:
“Facebook may be useful as a collaboration tool and has
excellent support for student group collaboration
(Canada)”

b) “Student familiarity”:
“Facebook is popular (UK);
Students are already familiar with Facebook; are already
“there” and actively using it (AU & SA);
Students are familiar with the interface”
c) “Sharing and skills”:
“Students will adapt to social networking systems and
develop technological skills (SA); Facebook will introduce students to “new” concepts
regarding ICT and become exposed to ICT as an educational tool in a fun, playful way (SA);
Facebook caters for assignment discussions and information sharing (SA); Students can exchange materials and ideas in particular
areas of study (Canada)”
After reading this article I developed a new perspective about the functions and benefits that we can decide to create using properly Facebook.
Let’s say that I transform an old project I created with my primary students of Spanish language from Vision School and add the mandatory use of Facebook for those 3 purposes previously mentioned, by making a private Facebook group.
Our project consisted in living the life of someone you admire and create a virtual biography aimed to be presented in class.
Now, how would I use the private group according to this project?
The “Group work and interactivity” feature, would be valued as students would have the opportunity to shake knowledge and information about famous personalities they might admire and that has been chose by the classmate. I would give point to students who contribute helping other by sharing articles, video or any valuable information about his classmate’s famous character. This feature would even develop in children the sense of helping others and the importance of information sharing to effectively gather more knowledge.
The feature “Student familiarity” is relevant as it proposes to teacher considering the Facebook as an extension to the classroom and a tool that is quite simple to manage, as children have access to this website almost 24-7 and already understand the basis.
The feature “Sharing and skills” would definitely be a function I would insist on for this private group participation as I believe that in class we can have ideas that become clearer after a while and that we can share therefore by accessing the internet at home. The idea of sharing a concept, opinion or informative thought in a written form also invites student to enjoy the art of writing. Writing has been so forced and a great source of stress. I think that ICT discussions and information sharing can have children accepting other’s ideas and start sharing their own and become better at it.
The article “Facebook as a Functional Tool & Critical Resource” from Mark Lipton inspired me to transform a handmade porte-folio into an online one created with the Facebook album photo. I would have my students creating significant informative and personalized porte-folio that shows projects they are proud of. So Facebook in this case could “to engage my students”. Especially with the project mentioned above I think they would be stimulated to hand in “traces” that are well done and significant to them. Besides, Facebook could be used as a “classroom management systems” as I could have the students go to the computer lab when they behave well and they could gain participation points for each visit they do on their friends’ porte-folio, for instance.
The article “Facebook as Pedagogical Tool” written by Anna Bedford reinforced my opinion about the fact that I would not want to replace any one on one or real life interactive communication by online communication for all the official information. The authors thought is the following: “Do not use it for official communications with my class because it is a personal, information environment. I see the benefit of Facebook as being a very informal medium for facilitating communication and community among students”. So I would definitely use Facebook to encourage cooperative learning and self-expression as it can represent an informal environment to communicate that allows students to go over their timidity. I would try to encourage heterogeneous work group and social integration of students through Facebook.

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