How do you use Facebook or Twitter in the classroom?

I have been hearing about teachers that use Facebook or Twitter in the classroom. I'm curious how you do that. Doesn't your school block those sites from student computers? What age of students do you think are appropriate for Twitter or Facebook? I teach second graders and I'm wondering how I can use Twitter, Facebook or other social networks in my classroom. Any ideas?

Views: 580

Comment by Christopher Casal on September 20, 2010 at 8:31pm
I am a K-5 teacher so Facebook is out due to age restrictions/requirements.

I use Twitter as an out-of-classroom extension. I post interesting articles I find, quick info about school, homework assignments, etc. More school-home connection and parent involvement then actual in-class tool. Again, the age restrictions on social media sites prevents my students from actively participating, but I feel my website, Twitter feed, etc help to expose them to these types of things without actually requireing them to register. Plus it's great for communicating with parents.
Comment by Christopher Casal on September 20, 2010 at 8:32pm
Forgot to add the link for reference: www.twitter.com/mr_casal
Comment by Anne De Manser on September 21, 2010 at 1:33am
I use facebook with my students in several ways. I find it is a great way to provide positive role modelling in an online environment by making positive comments on their facebook walls and by providing them a window into the way my 'public ' face looks online. It's just another way of communicating and building relationships with our school community.
I also use social media and web 2.0 tools to collaborate with students.For instance, we have a facebook group for senior drama where we can add important dates/ have discussions etc. I have several wikis that students can access for similar purposes.
Parents often contact me via facebook to let me know their child will be absent or to update me on their progress if they are away from school.I also post photos to particular groups so that the parents can share them.
At the moment I'm trying to add a school twitter account so that we can make live tweets from the school website.
Comment by Anne Mirtschin on September 21, 2010 at 3:15pm
I also use twitter in my class (secondary students) as a search engine, so that students get people, what is happening now, feelings, emotions etc and not just urls.
Comment by Justin Tarte on September 25, 2010 at 11:06pm
http://bit.ly/bAkxeo - A document for a PD day we had a couple weeks ago at the high school level

http://twitter.com/herrtarte - My Twitter account to tweet the homework / reminders / answer student questions / connect with students outside of school

http://bit.ly/bBxAq6 - My facebook page for a weekly homework discussion question, as well as bringing education to the students, versus forcing them to come to us
Comment by Jason Graham on November 12, 2010 at 11:31pm
Ive been using FaceBook with grade 1.......yes grade 1. Most of the parents are on FB so its a convenient way to communicate with them, and they can send private messages as well. Most of the parents are busy on the go people who use their Blackberries and FB, Twitter etc to communicate. Its convenient for all. Plus it provides a digital record.
We share some work on the wall, set homework tasks. Students can send me messages and each other as well. HOWEVER, we have very strict access. Parents & kids only. We also do not have photos of kids (closesups) on the wall. Its NOT my personal FB, its the grade 1. Grade 1 kids klnow about facebook and although Im not suggesting all the grade 1 kids go out and get a FB account, it is certainly a communicatiool that is aroudn them on a daily basis and they need to learn how to use this properly. It is our jobs to teach them this, or someone else will. As an international school, I probably have more freedom to use technology than I would in a state school perhaps. But the question needs to be asked if you or the parents arent teaching the kids about social networking...be assured someone else will.
Comment by Ng Shi INg on November 13, 2010 at 2:56am
I've been using FB - group application - for my 17-18 year old college students to help them to increase pratice time for Eng Lg and also to build their confidence in learning the language. Innitially it began as a virtual apartment where students have to be pretend to have an occupation and update the group's wall on their everyday life but it evolved to students talking about their daily life as my students were quite stumped with what to talk about their "pretend" daily lives. Students use the discussion tab to discuss topics relevant and interesting to them. Set a few ground rules like no text speak and must use the English Language. So far it has shown quite good response. The group is close and only open by invitation - to stop spammers and friends of my students to add themselves in.
The learning institution does ban FB but most students have mobile broadband so it is not so much of an issue.
Comment by Mitchi on November 13, 2010 at 5:50am
The Waterloo Region District School Board in Ontario has just unblocked Facebook this year. I've been using it more from the receiving end of things and have opened it up to students as another communication option. So far I've had students confide in me through messages about discomfort with other students in the room and about their fears of speaking in public or sharing projects with the class, which has allowed me to address the issues that may not have been raised face to face.

As for implementing Facebook in the classroom, I've allowed it as a "short entry" option for journals. As a result, I have started receiving written text from two reluctant students who before were refusing to turn in their journals. I also use FB as a way of teaching digital citizenship. The goal is to teach students that they need to present themselves the same way online as they do in person. No posting is truly anonymous.

Since I teach Communications Technology, I have a few students who prefer to edit video projects and audio podcasts at home. They send me the links or post them via Facebook. If they're having difficulty with software at home, they message me in real time to get help when I am online.

Facebook has the potential to live on long after high school. My former Communications Technology students who graduated and went on to college and university started up a networking group 3 years ago in which they now trade tips on job leads in the broadcast industry. Great networking!
Comment by Mitchi on November 13, 2010 at 5:58am
I had the opportunity to interview Danah Boyd back in May. She's a Microsoft researcher, Berkeley fellow and co-author of the book, "Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living With and Learning with New Media". In the interview she talks about teens and social media and gives tips for teachers in using Facebook.

Although I use Facebook as a communication option for students, I use Ning as my social media site in the classroom. Just before my interview with danah (she uses no caps on purpose) I was using the live chat feature from my hotel room in Boston to communicate in real time with my students back in Waterloo region and help them clarify the work in class. So powerful!

here's the link to danah's interview: http://www.janemitchinson.ca/socialnetworking.htm
Comment by Jason Graham on November 13, 2010 at 6:07am
Mitchi
I agree. We all need to realise that the way we present ourselves in our online persona is much like how we are percieved in real life by the way we dress, act or speak. The online persona is even more difficult as its very 1 dimensional. These skills need to be expicitly taught to our learners. Its a new skill, one that has not yet been adopted in maintream education. Great to see that FB has been taken off the blacklist. We need to educate our kids in this 'new' literacy. One reason why this recent generation will be looking to reinvent themselves in a decade's time when they look for jobs. Even the CEO of Google suggests that this generation will be seeking a new online identity to escape from porr decisions they made in the past. So in essence, the education system has failed them in this respect.

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