How Facebook Can Be an Effective Learning Platform – Both Inside and Beyond the Classroom?

Jan 07, 2018

It was a sultry day when Liz Delmatoff decided upon an experiment.

Her objective was to take education to the next level. A 7th-grade teacher in George Middle School in Portland, Oregon, Liz was determined to embrace social media in the classroom. After sessions of hardship battling and creative brainstorming, things began to flow smoothly. It started off with a Facebook-like forum, Edmodo, where she began to post assignments for her students. What followed was a surprising medley of productivity that soared beyond expectation.

Let's have a look at the statistics.

Grades went up by 50%.

Attendance soared by a third.

And 20% of the students completed extra assignments without credit benefits.

Sounds pretty overwhelming, right?

Needless to say, Elizabeth's social media program paid off and it became an inspiring validation of the effectiveness of social media in the classroom for thousands of educators worldwide.

Facebook followed suit.

Facebook in Classrooms

Let's forget Facebook for a second. There was a time when any ounce of social media used to be completely out-of-bounds in the classroom. Then began the online classroom revolution and educators began thinking about newer ways to implement the plethora of amazing tools available. Those were integrated in the classroom to enhance the educational experience. A penchant for progressive education brought forth the concept of a smart classroom that employs technology to take education to the next level.

Even wearable technology made its debut.

Facebook, by then, was already a craze that washed over Gen Y, revolutionizing the concept of communication by making it easier and engaging. Recent statistics depicts that as many as 1.39 billion people around the world are active Facebook users and a large chunk of that figure include students. If you are an educator, you already know by now that over 90% of the students in your classroom are active Facebook users.

Now think, how many times have you asked your students to refrain from Facebook use in the classroom? And the gleam in their eyes suddenly dies due to the reprimand, doesn't it?

Now think: What if you can channel this energy into the lessons? Wouldn't it do them and you an ample amount of good if that could be done and productivity increases?

That's exactly what implementing Facebook in the classroom can do.

Here’s a video on how to do it.

Let's elaborate on this.

Benefits of using Facebook in the classroom

The popularity of Facebook has grown in leaps in bounds over the years since its inception. From the middle-school kid to the arm-chaired grandma, Facebook has spread its reach to every corner of the world, including the United States.

It’s among the most popular multi-platform web properties in the US. And here’s how it stands.

It has been years since Facebook has shed its 'distraction' tag and made its way to being a collaborative tool for K-12 and college students.

With this realization dawning on most educators around the globe, we have a few benefits of our own to add to the growing list that has made the world stop for a moment and wonder.

Let's steal a glance.

  1. The familiarity quotient of Facebook exceeds all boundaries.

Everyone knows the ins and outs of Facebook, and everyone has a profile. The fact that Facebook is so familiar with everybody negates the need of extra training for using it. This reduces the expenditure for school authorities and increases the interest level of students. With Facebook, students are guaranteed to have fun while learning.

  1. Facebook encourages collaboration.

Facebook provides students with a chance to collaborate and share their assignments with their teachers and friends. It is a great tool for active, real-time discussions, sharing thoughts and feedback and collaborative learning. Since students check Facebook multiple times a day, it is quite obvious that they would not stop the Facebook activities after school gets over. This way education does not stop after the bell rings.

The school is not where it ends, students get to connect with the people outside too. With Facebook doing the rounds, the world outside the campus would not seem so bleak anymore.

  1. Facebook has proved itself to be a great source of news and information

Time and again we have found ourselves being showered with the latest news updates and valuable information as soon as we log into Facebook. Any big event or current news make the rounds in Facebook before they reach the newspapers.

So what could be a better source of information than Facebook itself?

When implemented in the classroom, the knowledge goes far beyond a friend's Starbucks visit update.

  1. Facebook serves as a magic wand that maneuvers distraction into an educational activity

What becomes of a distraction source when it is used in education?

It turns into an extremely effective tool.

That's how clever the implementation of Facebook in the classroom can be thought of. The time students spend online doubles with the blink of an eye. The worst part is, most of this time is spent in procrastination. The time spent lazing around in Facebook can actually prove to be quite valuable and useful, if integrated appropriately in the everyday curriculum.

  1. Absent students do not have to skip class

Technology has reached some astonishing heights in the last couple of years. Now students who are compelled to skip classes owing to any unavoidable circumstances can stay updated about the training they missed. And Facebook is a novel way to aid in that.

  1. Teachers can update assignments in Facebook

A simple assignment update in the Facebook group of your class can save a lot of hassles in informing that a homework is due on a certain date.

  1. Facebook allows active involvement of parents too

With Facebook perched right at the center of classroom activities, parents need not worry about their kids' classroom progress anymore. Everything can be at fingertips now. You can manage multitude of things, including:

  • Reminders
  • Activities
  • Special events

And it is going to show in positive results.

  1. Facebook comes loaded with learning apps

Just like smartphone, Facebook too is the breeding ground for tons of apps that can aid considerably in the learning process, both inside and outside the classroom. With Facebook use in the classroom becoming more common with every passing day, app developers have been striving to keep the fire burning. All you need to do is choose as many Facebook apps for education as you deem fit for your classroom. But while choosing, ensure that you include only those that the students can handle with ease.

These are but a few aspects of the amazing world that Facebook opens up for students.

Recommended Read: Top 5 ways to use social media in classrooms

The buzz around Facebook in classroom

A few years back, the concept of Facebook in classrooms cooked up quite a rage in the talk forums. What fueled the discussions was the shining prospect that everybody was looking forward too. One such talk forum that caught my eye is a five-year-old one by the name of Classroom 2.0 Discussion Forum. The discussion thread was something like this: How do you use Facebook or Twitter in the classroom?

Some of the comments were really interesting, like the ones below:

Anne De Manser commented:

I use Facebook with my students in several ways. I find it is a great way to provide positive role modelling in an online environment by making positive comments on their Facebook walls and by providing them a window into the way my 'public ' face looks online. It's just another way of communicating and building relationships with our school community.”

Jason Graham commented:

I've been using Facebook with grade 1.......yes grade 1. Most of the parents are on FB so it's a convenient way to communicate with them, and they can send private messages as well. Most of the parents are busy on the go people who use their Blackberries and FB, Twitter etc to communicate. It's convenient for all. Plus it provides a digital record.

We share some work on the wall, set homework tasks. Students can send me messages and each other as well.”

Mitchi commented:

As for implementing Facebook in the classroom, I've allowed it as a "short entry" option for journals. As a result, I have started receiving written text from two reluctant students who before were refusing to turn in their journals. I also use FB as a way of teaching digital citizenship. The goal is to teach students that they need to present themselves the same way online as they do in person. No posting is truly anonymous.”

Interesting ideas, aren't those?

Here’s a few more. These are what the teachers and students think of implementing Facebook in the classroom.

So, these are quite self-explanatory to help you arrive at the answer of why you should use Facebook in classroom. Since we have established the reasons for that, the next question that arises is:

How to start integrating Facebook in the classroom?

How can Facebook be implemented in the classroom?

Facebook can be an enriching mode of imparting quality education in the classroom. However, most educators face a block while thinking of ways to put that to action.

Let's look at a few.

  1. Classroom management

Facebook provides options for creating groups. This way you can divide different classrooms into varied groups, so that you can manage and post events, assignments and similar other stuff.

Facebook enables a free flow of discussion and scopes for update acknowledgment. You can ask your students to comment on updates that you are posting in a group, so that you know they have gone through it.

Reminding your students about their assignments is easy on Facebook. In addition, you get to engage your students in a discussion over a certain assignment that you have posted and this can lead to some very fruitful results.

  1. Active collaboration and participation

As mentioned earlier, collaboration is a huge blessing that Facebook has to offer. Besides, this social media platform also provides a chance for peer review of any assignment.

There is also a hidden benefit to using Facebook in the classroom. Students who are too shy to comment on anything in the classroom can let their opinions flow in Facebook. The comments section can be their oyster. Since Facebook connects all, you can also encourage your students to practice a foreign language with native speakers.

Apart from that, tracking down old students is easy. You might consider asking them to post guest ideas, feedback, experiences, and so on. Not just students, other teachers can also participate in an ongoing discussion. With Facebook, homework isn't a chore anymore. Students can ask for help on their home assignments and be bombarded with truckloads of suggestions. Parents can get involved too.

  1. Sharing is easy

It isn't every day that you get to share every educational video that you come across, especially with your students. Facebook makes it possible in just a click. You can also create a video pertaining to a certain topic and share it with your students on Facebook.

You can also ask your students to document class trips and share those for their parents and friends to comment on. Any information you deem fit to share can be posted easily on Facebook.

  1. Utilizing the resources that come with Facebook

While employing Facebook in the classroom, you do not have to look up for information in Wikipedia anymore. You can throw a question to the forum and get people talking about it. The buzz that gets created this way will bring out all the information that you need.

Facebook provides students with a huge scope of first-hand research. Any query posted in Facebook can yield personalized answers with proven validations that tag along.

What can be more exciting than a former NASA scientist answering one of your students' Physics query?

You can also ask your students to follow art gallery pages, those of museums and exhibitions to gain an enriched learning experience. Facebook Notes and other such apps can be of great help too.

  1. Facebook in classroom makes way for a lesson in social media dos and don'ts

Many students are not aware of the etiquette they should follow on social media. Augmenting Facebook use in the classroom can do away with such confusion, enabling students to enjoy the many incredible aspects that Facebook has to offer. It is a win-win situation.

If you are new at this and would like to embrace Facebook into your teaching methodologies, a few problems might arise at the beginning with proper implementation. However, things would smooth out eventually with time.

What do you think about the idea of using Facebook in the classroom? Would you like to add anything to the points mentioned above? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below. We’re eager to hear from you.

Team LearnPick

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