I have always used Facebook as a greatly useful communication tool. Once, I decided to delete my account and asked (begged) people to communicate with me via e-mail and/or telephone. Unfortunately, I quickly realised how difficult it was to get in touch with people (I probably am more easy to reach on my old rotary phone than my friends are on their smartphone). I also missed all important events to attend to in my city, since not everyone thinks of pasting posters on telephone poles anymore. Hence the briefness of my journey out of Facebook.
My point is: I now truly admire the virtues of this tool. And as a future teacher, I thought about its pedagogical usefulness.
As discussed in class with M. Miller, Facebook is a facilitator. It facilitates communication between the teacher and his students. Since their smartphone is an extension of their hand, the classroom’s Facebook group follows the students everywhere. Therefore, the teacher may easily remind them about the assignment or important updates. Facebook also facilitates communication among classmates. Rather than saturating the teacher’s inbox, students may share their interrogations with fellow members of the group. In that sense, Facebook facilitates the sharing of information. By being in contact with all class members in one place, everyone may share either documents seen in class, personal course notes or relevant links for further research, so each student contributes to improving the experience of the class.
Now, Facebook is a funky writing tool. A creative teacher may find tons of writing activities to try out using this tool. One would be to compose the beginning of a text and ask students to add something of their own to it every week, as suggested by M. Miller. Bonus: it makes the writing task more appealing to the students. When it comes to correcting, the teacher is not the only proofreader, but the whole class can read, review and give feedback on other students’ writing. Receiving 30 different opinions on your essay instead of 1.5 (my usual)… how cool is that? (+)
One annoying drawback of using this tool is poor quality of English used in the online interactions (+). It seems like the instantaneity of the interaction makes one forget all grammar knowledge. I know, I have made several (awfully) absurd mistakes while chatting on Facebook. Still, I constantly put the blame on the keyboard.