posted by: Steph
| July 26, 2010, 05:38 PM
Facebook poses an interesting conundrum for educators: to have or not to have a Facebook profile? First and foremost, educators must follow the regulations and guidelines of their specific school district. For some educators, Facebook will be strictly off limits, but for those whose districts permit teachers to use Facebook, here are a few easy tips to make the social networking site work for you:
- Join education pages and groups on Facebook. Doing this will help bring education trends, topics, and news to you without you having to hunt for it. Your professional association, school, and curricula may have pages or groups on Facebook that provide tips, tricks, information, news, and discussion groups for educators. Pages like "Association of American Educators" keep you up to date on the latest education policies and news stories, while providing you with a community of educators and support in your profession.
- Share education information via your status posts. If you read an article or find a group that might interest some of your friends, post it as the status on your wall. Your status is a great way to quickly share useful information with all of your friends. Caution: Do not post things you wouldn’t want your boss or your students to see. (See recent blog post for 10 tips for safely using social networking sites)
- Communicate with your colleagues. If your school’s policy permits it, Facebook can be a venue, just like email, to communicate and collaborate with your colleagues and peers. Use Facebook to share lesson plans, brainstorm classroom activities, and promote a positive work environment. But NEVER post derogatory comments about students or coworkers on Facebook. Use the medium to communicate in a beneficial way with your colleagues.
- Communicate with parents. If your school’s policy permits it, use Facebook to share pertinent classroom information with the parents of your students. You can create a parents’ group for your class and share information only with those parents. Share field trip details, school closings, classroom parties, or even pictures of student projects. Parents loved one first grade teacher’s use of Facebook to communicate with them (read story here).
- Adjust your privacy settings appropriately. Take some time to review the "Privacy Settings" (found under "Account" on the top right) to mark most of your profile features "Friends Only" so that your students won't easily find pictures, posts, or status updates from their teacher. As role models, teachers should take advantage of the advanced privacy settings Facebook offers.
As Facebook celebrates hitting the 500 million member mark, educators should start using the social networking mega-site for more than just “friending” old classmates. Facebook can be a tool to assist teachers and improve the educational experience of America’s students.
Have you used Facebook educationally?