Tag Archives: Facebook

How Twitter and Facebook Can Boost Learning

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook can actually make students smarter, contrary to the criticisms leveled against them by many educators. Twitter and Facebook can boost learning if instructors use them properly and monitor their students’ use in coursework.

Some educators have been wary of social networks since their inception, concerned that students would use the networks in class, both as an update to the age-old practice of passing notes and as a tool with which to cheat on assignments and tests. The immediate reaction was to ban social network access during class. Some more creative instructors, however, saw a potential for actually enhancing their students’ learning, and they encouraged the students to participate. And it turns out that they were on to something: participating on the social networks can actually enhance education.

Why some educators love to hate social media

Beyond the potential for cheating, Twitter and Facebook have often been criticized by educators and others who are concerned with the future of literacy and critical thinking in our culture. Some think they are time-wasters for most students and are eroding students’ ability to write, spell, and think.

Twitter in particular has been criticized on literacy grounds because its strict 140-character limit per “tweet” (including spaces between words) encourages the use of Internet shorthand and “txtspk” (e.g., “UR” instead of “you are”) and sentence fragments. The fear among some educators is that between tweeting and texting, technology has given rise to a new generation that will be at a loss to write or read a coherent, properly spelled sentence.

Facebook has also been criticized as a time-waster and even, in some well-publicized cases, a bullying tool. It has also become a surefire conduit for rumors, ridiculous memes and urban legends, some of which were debunked back in the pre-Internet age, but nevertheless found new life via email and, more recently, through social media. Consequently some have complained that Facebook encourages laziness and discourages critical thinking and research skills.
While there is some validity to all of these concerns – including the concerns about cheating – none of these are adequate reasons to vilify Twitter or Facebook. Instead, the teacher can use them as tools to boost the learning process. Even some of the perceived disadvantages of Twitter and Facebook can be turned into advantages.


The tweet heard ‘round the world…

Twitter wasn’t even on most people’s radar until the 2008 incident involving student James Karl Buck’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment at a public protest in Egypt. En route to the police station, Buck took out his cell phone and sent a one-word Tweet to his friends and contacts: “Arrested.” Within seconds, his fellow U.S. Twitter users and blogger friends in Egypt learned of his arrest, and the news almost immediately went viral. As the news spread, pressure from sources all over the world mounted for Egyptian officials, and Buck was ultimately released. At that point, he tweeted another one-word message, “Free,” which also went viral. And the world recognized the power of social networking.

Indeed, there is power in social networking, and there’s no denying that tweeting can be an effective means of communication and a way to update crucial information in the shortest, most direct way possible. Twitter has become a medium in and of itself, but its greater usefulness lies in the ability of the “tweeter” to link to other media. News media, for instance, now routinely use tweets to link to longer articles and videos, and that in fact is where Twitter becomes truly useful; it can link the reader to more substantial information. And this, ideally, is how Twitter can become valuable in the classroom: as a portal to information about the world.
What about the literacy argument? While some accuse Twitter of “dumbing down” the language and interfering with the ability to read, write and think, there are equally powerful – and eloquently literate – voices defending Twitter. A few years ago, best-selling Canadian novelist and poet Margaret Atwood declared that Twitter actually boosts literacy. Atwood noted that a lot of dedicated Twitter users are also avid readers, and added, “People have to actually be able to read and write to use the Internet, so it’s a great literacy driver if kids are given the tools and the incentive to learn the skills that allow them to access it.”
Moreover, one has to have at least rudimentary reading and writing skills to tweet, and tweeting (as well as texting) are less passive experiences than talking on the phone or watching TV.
http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/literary-legend-margaret-atwood-thinks-twitter-boosts-literacy_b16428

Other experts also believe that social media such as Twitter can be used to enhance reading and writing. One of these experts is Rey Junco, of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. http://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-can-twitter-boost-literacy/

Facebook, like Twitter, is a two-edged sword
Many of the arguments in favor of Twitter can also be used about Facebook: It can enhance reading and writing, and can be a portal to educational content. Of course a cursory look at random Facebook postings will reveal that freedom from the 140-character limit does not automatically make the poster witty, eloquent, or even particularly literate. That said, Facebook can be a powerful tool to convey legitimate information – whether an update on coursework or a link to a news story, opinion piece or white paper that is relevant to the work.

Even what is arguably one of Facebook’s weaknesses – its common use as a conduit for rumors and nonsense – can be transformed into a strength if teachers use examples as teaching tools to encourage critical thinking and research skills.

The greatest strength of social media is that they allow people not only to engage in the “public conversation” but also to connect with the world in a way that will actually expand their outlook and open their minds. Educators can and should take advantage of these tools, while guiding students in the responsible use of social media in the context of coursework.

Author Byline:

“This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes about free background check for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id:GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.”

 

Facebook Has Transformed My Students’ Writing—for the Better

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

The Internet has ruined high-school writing. Write the line on the board five hundred times like Bart Simpson. Remember and internalize it. Intone it in an Andy Rooney-esque grumble.

I’ve heard the line repeated by dozens of educators and laypeople. I’ve even said it myself.

Thankfully it is untrue.

As a high-school English teacher, I read well over a thousand student essays a year. I can report that complete sentences are an increasingly endangered species. I wearily review the point of paragraphs every semester. This year I tried and failed to spark a senior class protest against “blobs”—my pejorative term for essays lacking paragraphs. When I see a winky face in the body of a personal essay—and believe me, it has happened enough to warrant a routine response—I use a red pen to draw next to it a larger face with narrow, angry eyes and gaping jaws poised to chomp the offending emoticon to pieces Pac-Man-style. My students analyze good writing and discuss the effect of word choice and elegant syntax on an audience’s reading experience. The uphill battle is worth fighting, but I’m always aware that something more foreboding than chronic senioritis lines up in opposition.

More Facebook Has Transformed My Students’ Writing—for the Better – Andrew Simmons – The Atlantic.

Facebook Debuts Hashtags

* Hashtag

Facebook today is officially unveiling hashtags to its platform after three months of industry speculation that it would make such a move. Hashtags, which are hugely popular on Twitter (and, to lesser extents, Instagram and Google+), should theoretically make the social media giant more conversational and could have significant search engine optimization implications.

When it comes to the latter, let’s say a brand puts a hashtag in its television or out-of-home advertising. Up until now, a Google search for that term would at least nine out of 10 times produce a Twitter link at the top of the results. Now, the consumer might instead be led to Facebook’s property. Hashtags should also affect Facebook.com search results.

Read more: Facebook Debuts Hashtags, Urges Advertisers to Use Them | Adweek.

Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters

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Like many schools across the country, Matt Renwick’s school uses printed newsletters to share student learning with families on a weekly basis.

Parents have responded positively to these communications for years, but are we reaching everyone? Probably not. Social media has already proved to be a powerful tool for communication and collaboration, and there is evidence to support its use in the K-12 environment.

Meg Carnes and Kitty Porterfield make a strong case for connecting online with families in their book Why Social Media Matters: School Communication in the Digital Age. They cite data from the Pew Research Center that 75 percent of adults ages 29 and younger use social media. The most recent data from Pew found that 83 percent of adults 18–29 use social media.

The trend is obvious: The overwhelming majority of young parents will be social media users within a few years.

That’s why [he] believes print communications must be augmented with a digital presence.

Here are three examples of how schools can use Web 2.0 to connect with more families. (Note: All three of these tools can be linked or embedded into your classroom web page within your district.)

Read more: Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters | EdTech Magazine.

Facebook meets the classroom

Facebook

In North College Hill High School’s library, junior Gracie Carver-Dews recently finished a class project, designing a video game in which a frenetic birdlike creature jumps onto blocks to grab at coins.

Next to her in class, junior Anthony Ledgyard finished assignments in Latin I and his Human Body class, both of which he takes online, hoping they’ll someday help him get into medical school.

Elsewhere in the building, social studies teacher Keith Spangler squeezes his first online class, psychology, in between his regular classes.

“I describe it as Facebook meets the classroom,” said Spangler, who teaches 26 students from around the country online.

“A very key cog in the whole process is collaboration among the students online … I don’t think it replaces face-to-face classes, but I know this online stuff is here and is only getting bigger.”

via ‘Facebook meets the classroom’ | Cincinnati.com | cincinnati.com.

The Teacher’s Guide to Facebook

Pile of Apples in front of woman using laptop

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, reaching 1 billion active users at the beginning of October. People across the globe use Facebook to connect with old friends, share news about their lives and even to maximize their brand’s social reach.

In its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook lists a minimum age requirement of 13, which means that more and more students in high school and college are signing up for the social network. As a teacher, what should you do if a student sends you a friend request? Does age play a factor? Should you be careful about what you post, even if it’s from your private account?

We spoke with teachers, professors and other education professionals about best Facebook practices to help answer these questions and more.

[Great article from Mashable]

Full text: The Teacher’s Guide to Facebook.

Facebook as a learning tool? A case study

Pimmer, C., Linxen, S. and Gröhbiel, U. (2012), Facebook as a learning tool? A case study on the appropriation of social network sites from mobile phones in developing countries. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43: 726–738. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8535.2012.01351.x

BJET cover

Abstract

This exploratory research investigates how students and professionals use social network sites (SNSs) in the setting of developing and emerging countries. Data collection included focus groups consisting of medical students and faculty as well as the analysis of a Facebook site centred on medical and clinical topics. The findings show how users, both students and professionals, appropriate SNSs from their mobile phones as rich educational tools in informal learning contexts. First, unlike in previous studies, the analysis revealed explicit forms of educational content embedded in informal learning contexts in Facebook. Quizzes, case presentations and associated deliberate (e-)learning practices which are typically found in (more) formal educational settings were identified. Second, from a sociocultural learning perspective, it is shown how the participation in such virtual professional communities across national boundaries permits the announcement and negotiation of occupational status and professional identities.

Via Facebook as a learning tool? A case study on the appropriation of social network sites from mobile phones in developing countries – Pimmer – 2012 – British Journal of Educational Technology – Wiley Online Library.

Social media for schools: a guide to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Facebook Like drawn with chalk on Blackboard

Using social media in schools doesn’t have to be scary. Here, Matt Britland shares his tips for managing school accounts and some examples good practice

Like, tweet, pin? Social media use in education is still causing debate. Do you use it in the classroom? Let us know how.

The use of social media in education continues to be something of a hot topic with arguments both for and against.

So I carried out a small survey of 27 teaching professionals in order to create a baseline of understanding into the use (or not) of social networking in schools, and also any concerns over some of the e-safety risks. The full survey results can be found here.

There are many uses of social media in education – below are just a few of the ways they can be effectively used.

Full Text: Social media for schools: a guide to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest | Teacher Network Blog | Guardian Professional.

Using Facebook to build community in large college classes

FAcebook

Although it is often said that the academy moves slowly, very slowly, I never really thought about myself as a “slow mover” with regard to pedagogy in the classroom. But when the idea of using social media (e.g., Facebook) as part of my face-to-face classes was suggested to me about two years ago, I found myself in the slow lane.

Luckily, about a year ago I saw the proverbial light. It was then that I had a frank conversation with a colleague about the value of using Facebook (Fb) in my classes.

Full Text: Using Facebook to build community in large college classes (essay) | Inside Higher Ed.

What If Teens Prefer Twitter to Facebook?

A member of my wife’s family and a few of her friends told me recently that they are enamored with Twitter. They love its rapid-fire updates, and the sense Twitter provides of being right in the moment. Over a weekend they were constantly checking and posting updates on their smartphones, and when it came to socializing with friends, she and her peers simply preferred Twitter to Facebook.

This isn’t earth-shattering news, but here’s the catch – all were in high school. Teen social media users seem to be flocking to Twitter right now, continuing a trend over the past two years, and reducing Facebook usage in favor of the 140-character social network. We’ve seen such a shift in preference before, when users flocked to Facebook over Myspace in 2007. History may be on the verge of another social platform shift, and brands can’t be caught flat-footed when it comes to marketing to the younger generation.

Full Text: What If Teens Prefer Twitter to Facebook? | DigitalNext: A Blog on Emerging Media and Technology – Advertising Age.

The Why and How of Using Facebook For Educators

FAcebook for Educators

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:

  • The fact is, the majority of your students and their parents are probably already on Facebook
  • Even when schools have a policy against being “friends” online, there are tools you can use that won’t violate policy
  • Despite what you may hear, there are strong privacy options that you can set up so only those that you want can access your information
  • We have an obligation as educators to model appropriate online behavior and learn right along our students

Full Text: The Why and How of Using Facebook For Educators – No Need to be Friends At All! | The Edublogger.

Should Tweens be allowed on Facebook?

An estimated 7.5 million children under the age of 13 are already using social networks. They are lying about their age and sometimes doing so with their parents’ encouragement. Often, children who have parents serving overseas in the military or grandparents in faraway states see social media as a chance to share photographs and life experiences.

Kids’ first interactions with the Internet and social media should not include deception. Facebook already provides increased privacy protections for children between the ages of 13 and 17, but in their haste to use the service, many teens lie about their age, missing out on existing safeguards. We don’t want to teach children to lie to their parents or to the services that they are using, but we also don’t want them to lose out on the chance to connect with others and to learn.

Instead, we should empower parents and children to engage together, to keep them safe and to help them successfully navigate the online world.

Full Text: Tweens on Facebook: There’s much to like – The Washington Post.