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Using Facebook at School

Social media, which has become an essential for kids and techno-savvy adults, is now entering the realm of public education as well. Schools and districts across the country are leaping aboard the Facebook bandwagon, creating pages that allow students and staff to interact during and after school hours. This online tool provides a whole new dimension to the public school community, but not everyone is thrilled with the idea of posting school business and social interactions on the Internet for the world to see. We'll take a look at both the pros and cons of the use of Facebook in public schools, as well as some districts who have embraced FB already.

Positive Ways Schools can Use Facebook

There are many potentially constructive ways public schools can use Facebook to engage their communities. The author of the article, JG Visual partner David Hartstein, says at the beginning of his report, "By setting up a Facebook page, schools can establish a controlled, professional presence that allows them to capitalize on this social space in many important ways, while still protecting their students."

Hartstein suggests a number of ways to incorporate social media into the public school community, including:

Sharing News

While many schools currently rely on their websites or the old-fashioned "paper home from school" methods of sharing news, Facebook presents a whole new realm of possibility in this area. Because Facebook is updated in real time, schools can get information to students and parents quickly and effectively. This might include updated facts about upcoming events, current happenings around the school or recent announcements. In addition to disbursing information, students and parents can comment on what's posted, providing schools with necessary feedback that helps them tweak programs and events as needed.

Using Media

Facebook isn't just about the content; this tool can also be used to distribute a wide range of media to the school audience. For example, photos and videos of recent events can be displayed on the Facebook page to offer parents who could not attend the event the chance to see their students in action. Some of the categories that might be showcased on the Facebook page include school-wide celebrations and student achievements. This also provides the opportunity for students and faculty to revisit the event, building a sense of community and camaraderie amongst school members.

Teaching Tools

Facebook and other social media can also be used to enhance the learning experience outside the classroom. Teachers can use these these technology tools to post learning videos, assignments or other information from the classroom. Videos of recent meetings and assemblies can also be posted to give parents necessary information about the latest happenings and decisions within the school.

There are many good options for incorporating social media in the classroom. In fact, some might argue that omitting such widely used technology may serve to actually thwart student learning. Since "everybody is doing it," students need to learn how to effectively use this tool beyond its basic social purposes. Teachers also have multiple teaching options open up to them when they have free reign of the most recent technology available.


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