Thursday, October 14, 2010

facebook for school?

This article proposes that facebook, or other social networking, if used appropriately, can be beneficial in a school setting. They suggest that by using a group filter or lists to restrict access to certain content of facebook, it could be used as a means of communication to organize group projects and other similar activities. They are adding features such as group chat and document sharing, similar to google docs. The question is whether this is a good idea or not. As of right now, most schools have filters that will not allow access to facebook at school. If the restriciton is lifted for educational purposes, how will that affect learning and the school environment?

From personal experience, I feel that by restricting something, it makes students want it more. I think lifting the ban on it all together might make this less of a problem. I remember in high school people finding proxy sites in order to get around the firewall so that they could use facebook, but it was typically for school related purposes like getting word out about a game or extracurricular event, or trying to track someone down for information for the yearbook. More and more society in general is using facebook to organize things such as events. It's an easy way to get word out about extra-curricular activities for people still in school, but maybe not so much for curriculum based usage. I do feel that there maybe should be some sort of facebook tutorial or something about internet safety presented in classes, because, as much as educators don't want to admit, things like facebook are part of our culture and society and most people don't really know how to use it correctly. Only five percent of facebook users actually take advantage of the privacy and safety controls, which is a very minute number when one thinks about it. The executive director for the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use "From [an online] safety perspective, I think this is really helpful, because it will allow young people to set up groups based on degrees of trust,” said Willard. “[But] there are other Web 2.0 platforms that I think are far more geared for effective educational use. To my knowledge, Facebook does not have a team of educational professionals who are working with [the web site] to design specific educational products.” Which is why I feel that facebook should be allowed in high school, but maybe only after school for extracurriculars rather than classroom related things. I still think google apps and other similar, free internet sites would be better suited for that purpose.


liz exo said...

I am still unsure about the prospects of using facebook for in-school usage. I think that it would be too distracting for students, and even if group chat would help students organize group projects, I feel that there is a beetter way to do this. (email, face-to-face conversations?) I can just imagine so many students abusing their power if they were allowed to use facebook as an educational tool. Although I totally agree that facebook has become such a big part of our culture, but I just think this is one technology that shoud stay outside of the classroom.

scalhoun said...

I do not think allowing Facebook to be un-filtered is a good idea. I also remember students using proxies, but eventually that died out because the school was also blocking the proxies. I know that if I had been able to get on Facebook in high school when I was asked to work on a paper or something like that, I would have. Students already have enough problems with procrastination; Facebook doesn't need to be added to the mix.

scalhoun said...
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