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Using Facebook to support learning

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I’m rubbish at keeping track of what’s interesting on the internet.  I’m fairly OK using Google’s Reader, but I’m not a fan of Forums or having to look in multiple places.  It’s a trait that is shared with many of our young people.  We’ve been using a Facebook page since September.  It’s more or less a static page: it doesn’t allow a lot of interaction.  However, what it does do is show up in young people’s Facebook feeds.  Most of our students are engaged with the social networking site, and it makes sense to be engaged in it.  Here is a little but of information about the page and how we are using it.

The set up:

  • Chat is turned off. This is unmoderated and difficult to record. I can’t see it ever being a good idea to use Facebook chat to communicate with young people.
  • All security settings are ramped up to maximum.  This means comments are turned off.
  • The page has been set up using an alternative Facebook profile so there are no links to teachers’ personal pages.
  • The ‘Wall’ feed is also linked to our teacher Twitter account (@prorygeoggraphy)

What we use it for:

  • Links to take students back to our Google Site.  As this sits behind a password, pupils can interact with it like a VLE.  The Facebook feed acts as a reminder of activities.
  • News – especially about fieldtrips and other activities coming up.
  • Revision and homework links.
  • Links to Slideshare versions of lesson content and material
  • Placing photo examples of excellent work on the site, with names etc removed.

Worth it?

At the moment, early indications suggest yes it is.  The number of interactions is growing and lesson materials are being downloaded more often than this time last year.  Setting up a closed Facebook group to allow collaboration spaces could be another step forward in the future.

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