Since it’s conception, Facebook has come under fire because it is seen as distracting, because of the amount of personal information that it makes public, and because of general fear of what a hyper-connected world means for kids. As a teacher and a parent I understand these fears, but I can also see the amazing potential that is held in a hyper-comected world. The following are several articles that advocate for different aspects of Facebook.
A) First and foremost, Facebook for Educators is an awesome. It provides a resource guide for teachers and numerous sample school policies that help schools make meaningful guidelines.
They base their educator guide around “7 Ways Educators Can Use Facebook”. These include:
1. Help develop and follow your school’s policy about Facebook.
2. Encourage students to follow Facebook’s guidelines.
3. Stay up to date about safety and privacy settings on Facebook.
4. Promote good citizenship in the digital world.
5. Use Facebook’s pages and groups features to communicate with students and parents.
6. Embrace the digital, social, mobile, and “always-on” learning styles of 21st Century students.
7. Use Facebook as a professional development resource
They also have an affiliate site called Facebook for Parents that provides resources to help parents understand how to effectively utilize the tool and how to teach their kids to do the same.
B) Next, ReadWriteWeb has an article called How to use Facebook: 5 tips for better social networking. I know you know how to navigate Facebook, however, there are some things you can do to fully utilize it’s potential.
They explain that in order to use it effectively you should do the following five things:
Tip 1: Update Your Status Regularly
Tip 2. Use Groups (a.k.a. Lists in Facebook Terminology)
Tip 3: Add Your Content From Other Sources (Carefully...)
Tip 4: Brighten Up Your Profile With Photos and Videos
Tip 5: Search Out the Best Facebook Apps
C) Now on to the juicy stuff. We have all heard about schools who want to ban teachers from Facebook all together or parents who feel that it has no purpose other than to encourage predators. However, EdTechSandyK talks about how baning Facebook is not the answer. She explains that the reason many people want to ban Facebook is because of the potential for (and the proven existence of) negative social interactions, such as bullying.
Sandy specifically talks about a single school in Florida that encouraged their parents to get their student’s off of Facebook. She points out that even if Facebook is taken out of the equation the potential for negative social interactions is not eliminated. Other types of technology would allow bullying to continue; Facebook is not the problem, the bad behaviors it is being used for are the problem.
Therefore, in order to fix the problem she says we must “Model, Supervise, & Create Positive Opportunities for Social Media Use”.
Overall we can see that Facebook, just like any other media tool, has the potential for evil. However, the networking benefits and information sharing possibilities far outweigh the potential for negative social interaction. And, negative social behaviors are something that should me addressed regardless of the medium of transmission.