Ever thought of using Facebook in your classroom? The world’s most popular social media service is accessible and intuitive, and offers an awesome way to ‘flip’ the way you teach, explains Matt Lambert.
When many 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. Yet, the reality is that social media services – and in particular Facebook – is a fabulous communication and sharing tool that 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 (as well as lead a department of six innovative flippers who use the in-flipped approach in a practical setting).
Why choose Facebook?
Although there are many platforms on which we can manage the online nature of our classrooms – solutions such as Google Classroom or OneNote, for example – Facebook is the one option that is already embedded into the daily lives of our students. They know how to use it. They’re 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.
Getting set up
It’s of huge importance to note that if you are using Facebook with your classes then you definitely do not use your private account! In the same manner that you have a private versus work email, create a ‘work/school’ account using your school email.
Once that’s done, 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 seven years of using Facebook for flipping, I have never needed this person but it is best practice to have them there.
As soon as the students are added then you are away. I like to personalise the page with a logo, humorous description, etc., to make it more friendly and fun for whole class.
Posting to the group
A range of things can be linked to your posts, including videos, articles, images, online quizzes, almost anything you 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 that 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 like to encourage students to post to the group during and out of class time. It’s hugely rewarding when a student finds some useful research and shares it to the group, allowing others to benefit from their knowledge. They also share their views and ideas, and even present their own work at times.
One last thing, this is also an excellent way to set relief classwork if you are away for a day or two!
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.
Matt Lambert is head of Physical Education and Health at Heretaunga College in Upper Hutt. You can meet him at RESCON NZ 2018 at Ormiston Senior College in Auckland, on 7-8 September. More at resconnz.com