Facing Reality! Facebook in the Classroom

After months of indecision, and finally after listening to the “Teapotting vs Planking – Country School Starts Global Craze!”, I have started a facebook group for my VCE Accounting students. Why have I done this?

  • I teach year 12 VCE Accounting students across three schools – mine and two others. (three virtual students in total)
  • We have a learning management system being implemented and called the ultranet, by our state Education Department. This has been fraught with initial ‘teething’ problems, is time consuming and I have found that the students from one school do not remember their access to it. So, only part of my class is able to access it.
  • Students do not read all their emails from me.
  • The external midyear exam was looming and I wanted them to have a space where they could quickly interact, communicate and ask questions.
  • Need to share materials, sites, updates etc in a collaborative space.
  •  this is where the students are,this is where they ‘hang out’, this is where I can quickly reach them, this is where we will share conversations on accounting.
About the group:- 
  • named Digtial Accounting group
  • This is a closed group
  •  students have to request membership.
  • I am not friends with the students.
  • However, I had to add one facebook friend to the group in order to start one. (The week before I had a request to friend from my one of my virtual students who has the least contact lesson time with me. So, I used him.)
Prior consultation and use of resources
Group features used so far!
  1. Adding events – when assessments are due, the exam date/time, online night time revision with links to elluminate room
  2. Updates with links to appropriate sites, including media etc
  3. Feedback on the exam
Instead of one week before the exam, I should have started this months ago. This will be an experiment, and other communication lines will be maintained, including:-
  1. skype
  2. email
  3. the ultranet space
  4. my class blog
Have I done the right thing? Have you used facebook with your class, if so, how?
What advice would you give me?

10 responses to “Facing Reality! Facebook in the Classroom

  1. Anne,

    You’ve done everything just as I did with my Senior Physics and Chemistry classes, the College SRC, the College Captains, a random Psychology group (which I don’t teach, but hey!?) and the Middle School Leaders . I found that, once I had set up the group, I was able to ‘unfriend’ the student that I needed to start the group. This left me with access but no student ‘friends’.
    I’m glad that you’ve been brave enough to follow this path – I think you will find that your relationship with your students will become richer for it.
    Keep us posted!

  2. I’m on the verge of using FB in my classes, too, but my school blocks it. Was that not an issue in your situation? I’m also concerned that my lower SES students may not all have access at home. I can work around that with access at school, but do you have other suggestions for this issue?

    • Hi Shaeley and thanks for the comment. Our school blocks facebook as well and so do the other schools where my students come from. As three of my accounting students are virtual, I need my students them to keep up to date with the classes that they miss online with me. I also need to remind them of work due, where they should be up to etc. They all, but one, have the internet on at home and are avid facebook users. However, most of them get facebook for free on their mobile phones and they all have them. This means that our school where mobile phones are not banned, they do have access to facebook both within school time and outside – this it the irony of it all.
      I still use a blend of facebook updates, emails, blog posts etc to cover all possibilities. Which classes would use it with? I hope you stay in touch so we can compare notes.

  3. Shaeley, you raise some valid points. Facebook is also blocked at my school (unless the students use a proxy server to get around the firewall) but they also primarily use it after school anyway. As Murcha says, most have it on their phones (because it’s free) as well. I teach in a low SES area and have found that access to FB is not such a huge issue as they do have access to the internet – just not the type of access that allows for large downloads etc.. This has been a big surprise to me – it seems that the internet has really become a ‘core’ tool.

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