Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…the list could be long. Social medias are everywhere and rare are the people who do not own an account in at least one of them. Why not take this information to my advantage? I know that most of my students are addicted to those websites; they cannot resist the temptation to go and check what’s new. So, why not letting social medias become one important tool in my classroom system?
Not only are Social Medias free, but they also bring countless possibilities of usage. Here, I will concentrate more on the advantages of using Facebook with my students. First of all, Facebook gives me the opportunity to create private groups with selected people. That way, I can create one group per class and put progressively all the homework, exercises, project instructions and study guides that are given through the year. It gives lunatic students the chance to know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by simple clicks. Plus, it stays there, so there is no possibility of losing anything. Moreover, by having a private group with my classroom, I can be easily reachable for questions and students can answer one another’s questions. It enhances teamwork and feedback is given rapidly.
In addition, when I want to create an event involving my students, I can put it on Facebook. That way, there is no confusion on the hour, date and place. Unnecessary repetition is avoided. Plus, if I want them to bring something or do something, they can discuss with one another to make sure that everyone knows what their job is. On many levels it simplifies my life and their life as well.
Another advantage of using Facebook is that I can get in contact with other schools and create partnerships with schools all around the world. It opens a window on the world and it gives my students the opportunity to talk with people their age, but of other races and with other cultures. That way, they become more open-minded, less judgmental and more tolerant. I believe that it is a great way to learn more about the world they live in and give them the desire to travel and discover other countries.
However, I know that I need to be aware of some factors. Before including Facebook in my educational system, I need to educate my students on how to become responsible users of such social medias. Students need to be taught how to put private settings so that not everyone in the world can have access to everything on their profile. If they don’t know it yet, I need to make them understand that what is put on the Internet is never completely erased. Also, they have to realize that bullying on Facebook is as bad as doing it face to face and that they should stand up against cyber bullying. Even adults don’t always realize the consequences of their actions when it comes to the Internet. A single post or picture can get them fired or eliminated as a candidate for a job.
Considering all of this, I think it is important for us, as teachers, to educate our students before incorporating Facebook as a tool. Once it is done and that they become responsible users, we can start having fun and working cooperatively to keep them interested and to give them the help that they need.