The way I see it, one of a teacher’s main goals is to be able to reach their students. And these days, where are the students? Probably on Facebook.
As Mark Miller said in last class’ lecture, being available on Facebook (as a professional), posting work and/or additional information is an ideal way to reach students while keeping them updated in all times. There are seemingly more chances that a student will see something posted on a Facebook group (even if it is related to school) before something posted on a school portal, no matter how wisely built it is. Furthermore, students using Facebook are given the opportunity to use a great chat system that simplifies group discussions.
For those of you who are interested in reading more about other possible ways a teacher can integrate Facebook to his teaching habits, this article shows probably most of them.(http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/06/ultimate-guide-to-use-of-facebook-in.html)
Also, since social networks are an actual and underrated part of today’s generation children and teenagers, why shouldn’t we give them the chance to learn how to use them responsibly? Teachers, being one of the principal real-life modal for students, should also become their cyber-modal, as some of them enter the cyber-world for the first time.
While this sounds quite reasonable, I agree that it might bring up many doubts and worries to people’s minds, and it should, In fact, I think that a great deal of attention should be put on making sure that teachers are aware that their role model for students continues and arguably amplifies as they switch from in front of a classroom to in front of their computers. However, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s think of all teachers as virtually responsible human beings.
Facebook, one of the most powerful communication tools, almost consists of a whole world by itself. And students, by subscribing on Facebook will have to choose what type of information they will be exposed to on an everyday basis. I think that a parental or educational figure should be available for them when they have to make such choices. The internet gives everyone the chance to express themselves in front of the whole planet, but sadly, it’s not everyone that has something pertinent or beliefs based on reliable research to say. So, in one hand, teachers that are in contact with their students on Facebook can guide them, showing them what one should pay or not pay attention to by posting relevant articles in the class’ group.
On the other hand, another crucial point concerning uses of Facebook for class, as raised by this article, (http://ctlt.ubc.ca/2009/01/30/facebook-and-education/), is that teachers, by asking their students to create a Facebook account, are implicitly asking them to submit personal information to a certain data base somewhere in the United States.
In overall, I think that the pros of using Facebook for educational purposes exceed the cons. In fact, I would sleep better knowing that someone is guiding my hypothetical children into the cyber-world, even if the cost is to put some personal information online. Because, let’s face it, they are rare those who are not on any social networks nowadays.