Friday, February 26, 2010

Thursday-Friday Combo Post - Facebook 4 Education

I was extremely busy yesterday, so I did not get a chance to post a Think Twice Thursday Post.  Since today is normally my Friday Focus post time, I thought I would combine the two. 

It has been a busy month in the area of Facebook and education and not in a positive light.  Story after story of students using Facebook to slander and defame a teacher's character.  Stories of a teacher using Facebook to rant about the behavior of students in class.  You can view these articles on my Articles Page.

Let's "face" it, Facebook is a Social Networking site.  That is its main intention.  That is not the issue though.  The issue is educating students, teachers, schools, and districts about using Facebook in a manner that promotes positive relationships between students and teachers, students and their school, schools and their community, and districts and their community.  The image of Facebook as it relates to education must be changed for Facebook to be a successful tool in education.

Several school districts, if not all, have school web pages.  Every school has parent-teacher conferences.  Every school offers meetings for parents and students to attend.  Every school has athletic, band, drama, and other events at their school.  Every school has fundraisers, important announcements and information that parents need.  The problem sometimes is getting that information to parents in a timely manner, and ensuring that it gets to every parent.  The problem is providing an easily accessible area for such communication and relationship building outside of the school building.

Facebook can provide AN answer, not THE answer to improving those relationships.  I was always told that if you can't get someone to come to where you are, then you got to go where they are.  And where are our students, parents, and community members?  Facebook.  Ask the average student the first website they go to when they get online: Facebook.  In 5-10 years (and probably today or sooner) ask the average parent the first website they visit when they log on the Internet: Facebook.

With all the negative press about Facebook though, it is hard to get districts, schools, administrators, teachers, and parents to buy into the idea of using Facebook for Education.  There has to be a way to promote the positive aspects of using Facebook in Education.  I know that Facebook is being used in Education, but those can be tough to find.  Well, hopefully I have created a possible solution or way to do that. 

All the negative press got me thinking about a way to promote the use of Facebook in education around the world.  So I created a Wiki.  A Wiki for educators, parents, administrators, schools, and districts to share how they are positively using Facebook.  Facebook 4 Education provides a website to post links, stories, articles, videos, examples of Facebook use, and Fan Pages related to education.

Think Twice about how you can or are using Facebook in education and share that information on the Facebook 4 Education Wiki.  Focus on sharing your successes of using Facebook.  Focus on helping improve the image of Facebook in education.  Help curtail the image that the media is portraying of Facebook in education.