Recently I helped review the use of information and communication technologies in the Jordanian public school system and I was intrigued to find that Facebook was blocked in both public and private elementary and secondary schools. In fact, the overall attitude of teachers and administrators seemed to be that Facebook was a waste of time – that it had no redeeming educational characteristics at all. Yet I don’t see Facebook in that negative light. I find it a compelling platform to to encourage language development, interpersonal communication, group collaboration, and of course, ICT skills improvement.
Community forums and newsletters sent home in backpacks are so old school. You want to find out whether stewed tomatoes are on tomorrow's lunch menu? Check out the district's latest tweet. How about the date for the next school board meeting? Look on Facebook.
Staff photo by Cathy Cramer (From left:) Woodruff School Music Department students Sydnie DeRosa, Logan Riddle, Ariana Yamasaki, Joshua Ore, Danielle Basile and Timothy Venella post to the program's Facebook page with Woodruff School Music Department Director Spencer Lau. Social networking websites offer educators a world of opportunity for growth and communication, but, as lawsuits and horror stories have highlighted frighteningly often, they can also open doors to abuse and trouble. Despite the challenges of policing online content and interactions, many school districts are working to utilize resources such as Facebook in progressive ways that advance effective communications and learning while protecting students.
Social media may have started out as a fun way to connect with friends, but it has evolved to become a powerful tool for education and business. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter and tools such as Skype are connecting students to learning opportunities in new and exciting ways. Whether you teach an elementary class, a traditional college class, or at an online university , you will find inspirational ways to incorporate social media in your classroom with this list.
In its Policy Priorities report, Can Social Media and School Policies be “Friends,” ASCD provides a state-of-the union on social media use in schools. How administrators and educators deal with federal regulations, defining what’s legal, parsing out school responsibilities and weighing them against the benefits of using social media to engage and communicate with students are all addressed in this useful guide. MindShift’s Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites is also in the lineup. <p style="text-align:right;color:#A8A8A8"></p>
Edu Blogs to Follow
If you are one of those out there that believe that Facebook has no place in the classroom, then, well maybe this post isn’t for you. But please first take a look at just a few reasons why you should reconsider:
by Loreal Lynch | April 27, 2011