With over 500 million active users, Facebook it a force to be reckoned with. It’s like the gulf stream, affecting everything. It’s more than 500 times more powerful than the New York Times. 500! Take everyone who watched the exciting Super Bowl (am I allowed to say that?) XLIV and clone them five times, then you’ll have the active users of Facebook.com. And at least 50% of those users sign in each day. Apparently, all those people sign in at work. Facebook causes $264 million year to be lost in productivity in Great Britain alone. It really is a phenomenon.
And despite the common thought that Facebook is bad for social interactions, there has been reasearch that proves the opposite. That research claims that shy children feel more comfortable making friends with people from school online. Then, once they have that “social collateral” they are confident enough to talk to those friends face to face. Plus, think of the smile it puts on your face when a long lost friend or cousin who lives across the country friends you on Facebook. Facebook has those powers.
How do we as teacher fight against such a mighty force? My answer: we don’t. We can’t beat ’em, so we might as well join ’em. Now, you’re reading a blog. So, I’m going to make the assumption that you have already sold your soul to the devil and joined Facebook. What we must do next, is steal a little of that power and utilize it in our classrooms. My classmates have had some really awesome ideas about how to go about doing that.
My favorite of those ideas is to have the students create a Facebook pages (on paper, not online) for characters they’re reading about. The photo above is an example of what the town of Verona would be doing on facebook over the course of the play. Those characters might even interact through status updates and photos. This isn’t just a fluffy activity assigned only to shut the kids up for a day or two. This activity requires a deep understanding of the literature, the characters and their motivations.
If we can utilize more technologies like Facebook in the classroom, we could nearly revolutionize education. Even as a literature lover, high school English classes were more often than not snooze worthy. How much more could we teach students if they were actually engaged with the activity?
Facebook better look out. We’ve got revolutionary teachers on the prowl!