Usage of Facebook in schools
Most people have a Facebook account, however I surprise myself to think that it can actually become an important tool for communication between teachers and students. Moreover, it could also help me in my task as a teacher. I won’t focus on every possible benefit there may be in using Facebook in class. If you are interested in reading a few, I would suggest reading David Hartstein’s article, How Schools Can Use Facebook to Build an Online Community. What I will focus on is how a Facebook group can be used to motivate students to learn by themselves.
First of all, I don’t think Facebook itself should be use IN class. When teaching a second language in high school, you don’t have access to the computer room so often, and therefore the use of Facebook should be excluded from class. Now you might think, ”if students cannot access Facebook in class, then what’s the point?”
The use of Facebook outside of class. That’s the point. When creating a Facebook group, it needs to be private so you can filter who enters and who doesn’t. You also need to make sure they need your permission to join the group, so that only your students can be part of it. When all of this is done, you can start posting what is needed such as the course plan and homework. Students themselves can also ask questions, and you may be able to answer even on a Saturday if necessary. Being able to communicate and help your students when they need it is very useful. As mentionned in this article, Facebook can be used as a ”Broadcast” account, in order to share what needs to be shared.
Moreover, using Facebook over any other similar website has a distinct advantage: almost everyone has a Facebook account. Your students most likely have one, and their parents too! As mentionned in this article, it makes a great way to reunite everyone under the same roof.
As an English-as-a-second-language teacher in the dominantly French-speaking Province of Québec, it is hard to find ways to motivate your students to learn English. Why bother learning? After all, they can live a nice life completely in French if they desire. So here’s the thing. When you learn another language, even more if that language is English, you open so many doors, metaphorically speaking. You can travel pretty much anywhere, make friends you could never have met if you didn’t speak English or travel to the other provinces of Canada or to any other English-speaking country. You can understand one another, and that’s the whole point of learning to speak another language. But the most important thing is…
Fun. It needs to be fun. If there is no fun, then they won’t even consider trying the proposed activities on their spare time at home. But what needs to be done to make sure they have fun? Some easy solutions are Youtube and video games. Youtube is full of Youtubers, people who post videos about their interests, activities, etc. There are some really fun videos and parodies that can also be found on Youtube, and most of them are in English. A nice way to help your students learn and motivate them on the long run is by making sure they want to learn. If you show them a video from a certain Youtuber in class, you can post the link on the Facebook group page. That way, they can go watch the video again if they liked it, or watch more videos from the same person. That way, they will use their free time to have fun, but will also learn at the same time. Another way is video games. Some of them are almost entirely in English, or requires co-op mode where you chat online with other players. Knowing English will help them explore and be part of an online community, as well as practice the use of English. Also, if you can make it fun, they won’t even care if they have to learn math!
In the end, whether or not you want to use a Facebook group up not for your students is up to you. If you prefer using Twitter, something else or nothing at all, then it also is your choice. But there are many benefits in using some kind of social network to share information and create a community. Just make sure to use them intelligently 🙂