With more than a billion users, Facebook is a force to reckon with as far as the internet is concerned. Ever since it was created in 2004, it became one of the most primed means of connecting and communicating. Since one of the main goals of ESL is to get the students to communicate, one might wonder of to use the biggest social networking website in a classroom setting.
Facebook allows you to create groups in which added users can share thoughts, opinions, ideas. Having such a group open for an ESL classroom can prove to be an excellent way of sharing the homework assignements, ask questions, share on the topics discussed in class, etc. Why would students partake in the excercise? When asked by emerginedtech.com, a student listed the reasons why she liked using Facebook as an educational tool:
1. We were socially motivated to complete the reading and contribute to the online discussion.
2. We didn’t spend class time going over that which we already understood.
3. We were able to benefit from insights from peers who generally don’t participate in class discussion.
4. We all learned to focus the vast amount of reading required for such a course to the specific course aims of our professor.
5. Through contributions from our classmates, we understood how each distinct text related to the others and to the class focus, and so on.
Students felt motivated by the idea of using Facebook as it allowed them to go at their own rythm, share thoughts, and… well it’s Facebook… Everyone loves Facebook.
Onlinecollege.org listed more than 100 ways to use Facebook in the classroom. Amongst them we find following neews feed of relevance, creating your own news source and many more. The also made sure to list a couple of applications relevant to the educational world.
As discussed in Classroom Applications, week 2; one should be very careful when using Facebook in a classroom. Make sure you it is not linked to your personal account, make sure the group is closed, friend your students at your own risk, be mindful of what you write on your wall.
A teacher is accountable at all time and Facebook does not forget nor does it forgive, yet it is a great tool and a great alternative to platform soch as blackboard.