Let me go back to 2008 - that's when I finally gave in and joined thousands of happy Facebook (FB) users. I still was not sure, but, there I was, adding "friends" here and there, reading through endless status updates such as "just had a pizza" or "love Starbucks coffee", looking at galleries of pictures of people I barely knew, and, more and more often, asking myself: "Do I really need it?" and "Do I really want it?" Above all, I was asking myself how on earth me, an introvert in nature, who very much enjoys her quiet space and solitude in real life allowed this non-stop noise and crowd? So, FB had to go, and it did.
If I missed anything, it was the convenience of using FB as a bookmarking tool and getting updates from the communities I wanted to follow. Also, as I was trying to blog, FB felt like a very good tool to share the posts! So, in 2012, I opened a new account, but this time I had a clear vision and purpose in mind: use it mindfully to achieve specific professional and academic objectives and control it (otherwise it will control you!) So far, so good!
I still cannot argue with those who believe and state that one can waste a lot of time using FB. Absolutely. Just as it can be the case with watching TV, reading news or surfing the Internet, playing video games, and even communicating face to face with real people. It all depends! Just like with everything we do in our real lives, a lot of precious time can be wasted unless one has a clear purpose in mind and knows when to stop. FB is no exception. It's a tool.
With such a vision, I embraced the EDTECH 543 "Social Networked Learning" course that I am taking as part of my M.E.T. in Educational Technology. I have to admit that, at first, it felt a bit "strange" going to FB to post an assignment, but only for a short time. The "filters" worked, and there was no confusion about the purpose of checking my page more often than what I was used to.
My next step (and it took certain boldness on my part!) was to start using it for teaching. Last week, I simply walked into the classroom and presented my students with a question: "Should we use FB as a part of our class?" They all said "Yes". In fact, together, they created this poster, and that's how I started. I even started my new FB page which I want to devote to this experience.
I knew little about other educators' experience in integrating FB and/or other social media platform into teaching just at the beginning of this week; at the end of the same week, though, thanks to a very timely assignment (could it coincide any better?!) I feel even more inspired and empowered. Please check this selection of articles and video that I curated via ScoopIt. I hope you find it useful and feel as inspired as I am! Meanwhile, here is a brief summary of just a few of the key learning points on how other educators use social media in their teaching and ideas on how it can be applicable to my own teaching:
1. Using FB to provide “positive role modelling in an online environment by making positive comments on their facebook walls” (Walsh, 2012.) Absolutely agree. By posting well-written, positive, and informative posts teachers can model appropriate online behavior - no matter what subject they teach.
2. Project example: "Choose a leader/thinker from any time in history and design a Facebook campaign in an attempt to held them become the newly appointed World Leader. "
- research your leader
- identify his/her views on the worldview, political ideology, human rights, etc. (Walsh, 2011.)
I can already see how it can be applied to ESL learners! Such an assignment will engage students, expand their knowledge and use of vocabulary, and provide meaningful practice when creating a project for a real audience.
3. Using FB “to extend student discussion from the end of the lecture to the tutorial and back to the lecture in a learning loop. For a teacher who is an avid user of social media and has a strong philosophy in utilising the best technologies for student learning and community, Facebook offered a space to develop this community, to also encourage creative thought and ultimately creativity in community. (Allen et al, 2012.) I could experience the convenience of posting youtube videos and assigning homework without having to write e-mails that no one reads. What a relief!
Again, please check my ScoopIt collection of articles to find more ideas. Feel free to join my FB reflection page if you want to know where I end up! Needless to say, I will be happy if you share your thoughts and experience.
Allen, B., Caple, H., Coleman, K., Nguyen, T. Creativity in practice: social media in higher education. 2012. Retrieved from:
The Great Student Blog Project:
Walsh, K. 2011. Facebook in the classroom. Seriously.
Walsh, K. 2011. Facebook Summit 2011, an Excellent Academic Use of the Popular Internet App