Using Facebook To Communicate with Students and Parents

Interesting article that was posted ages ago on FreeTechforTeachers.com is one where a teacher talks about how he uses Facebook to communicate with students and their parents. His reasoning being that his students probably check Facebook more often than they would check his homework blog, and therefore, he could flood them with reminders of assignments, homework and things needed for class.

He doesn’t add people to his personal account, though. He communicates with people through his Facebook fan page.

In this case, Richard Byrne has opened a fan page that caters exclusively to his students and their parents, and he controls the flow of information. If parents want to contact him, they are able to write on the wall of the page; same with students who may have homework questions. I can imagine that this works very well with a more mature crowd. I think it’s also a great lesson in how to use social media in a responsible way. In our current world, Twitter, Facebook and the like are such popular tools, that they might sometimes be used for evil. I think that it is very important to teach students how to properly use all of the tools at their disposal, and social media is one of them. In fact, it’s one of the most popular tools that they use – I’m also guilty of having all of those apps on my iPhone. Our internet identiy can get away from us sometimes, if we’re not careful and responsible. They need to know all the possibilities that come along with our Web 2.0 generation, and as a result, hopefully then they’ll be more responsible with their online identities. If we can help that process, then why wouldn’t it be an important lesson to learn? That’s getting into the really deep stuff, though. Alternatively, this group allows people to communicate effectively and in a timely matter. How fun and nifty is that?

A general note: I believe that this would work best on a group that is Grade 8+. Facebook’s Terms of Use state that a person must be at least thirteen years old to use Facebook. In order to teach them responsibility, we also have to follow the rules ourselves, so that means that not encouraging its use for children under the age of 13 would be important. Maybe, until then, a group just for parents?

Check out the rest of Richard Byrne’s stuff. He’s got a lot of great ideas on how to integrate technology into the classroom.

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