Matt Lambert, Head of Physical Education and Health Department, Heretaunga College
When people think about teenagers and their use of Facebook, or any form of social media for that matter, many negative thoughts often come to mind. ‘Facebook’ and ‘education’ are two words that are seldom seen next to each other or considered to be similar enough to be spoken in the same sentence.
The reality is that social media and in particular Facebook, is a fabulous tool which can be used to enhance education in a huge number of ways. I use Facebook on a daily basis to help me ‘flip’ my classes and achieve a number of other things.
Although there are many platforms on which we can manage the online nature of our classrooms e.g. Google classroom, OneNote etc. Facebook is the one option that is already embedded into the daily lives of our students. They know how to use it. They are already using it to share, communicate, collaborate and interact. When used in conjunction with the likes of Google classroom the ultimate online learning platform can be obtained! It is also an excellent way to set relief classwork if you are away for a day or two.
The set up
It is of huge importance to note that if you are using FB with your classes then you DO NOT use your private account. Create a ‘work/ school’ account using your school email in the same manner that you have a private vs. work email.
Firstly you need to create a private group, ensure that the first person you add is a fellow teacher. This is the online equivalent of not being alone in the same room as a student. They are your witness/ moderator if anything was to go wrong. (in 7 years of using FB for flipping I have never needed this person but it is best practice to have them there).
Once the students are added then you are away. I like to personalise the page with a logo, humorous description etc. to make it more personal for the students.
An example of a class/ group logo and banner
Anything can be linked to your posts including videos, articles, images, online quizzes, Google forms and the like. You can even check who has ‘seen’ a post and who hasn’t. One of my favourite things to post is a voting poll which allows students to select between multiple options. I have used this to aid in giving students autonomy over what we are doing in the classroom.
I also like to encourage students to post to the group during and out of class time. It is hugely rewarding when a student finds some useful research and shares it to the group, allowing others to benefit from their knowledge. Students also share their views and ideas and even present their own work at times.
The number of activities that you can do is endless and forever evolving. Facebook is something that isn’t going to go away anytime soon so we need to accept its presence and embrace what it can do for us and our students.
Come and say hello to me at FlipCon NZ 2018 in Auckland, September this year. See www.flipconaus.com for the details.
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