Use of Facebook in Lessons.
When you think of Facebook, its use as an educational tool may be the last thing on your mind! But believe it or not, Facebook has a number of features that can prove extremely valuable in an educational setting… well, as long as students aren’t distracted too much by pictures of amusing cats popping up in their newsfeed…
The recent introduction of the ‘Facebook Live’ video feature is one great example of the educational value of Facebook, especially if the students are studying via distance or online learning. According to Facebook (source: http://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/), in March 2016, there were an average 1.09 billion daily active users on the site, so the likelihood is that the majority of your students – regardless of their technical know-how – have some experience of this Social Media Platform. Therefore, if there is a lecture that you would like to deliver live to your students (that they can also watch again at a later date if required), Facebook is a great tool for this. Students can send messages whilst they are watching the live stream, and it is possible for the tutor to see how many people are viewing the recording at any one time. With widespread WI-FI connectivity, it doesn’t matter where your students are, or whether they are watching from a desktop computer or a phone or tablet, you can reach them anywhere and at any time, without having to teach them how to use another form of video conferencing software.
Social Media can also prove invaluable in building an online community for online/distance learners, who miss out on the camaraderie of more traditional physical learning environments. By putting students in contact with others who are studying the same course (for example, by creating a private Facebook group), students are able to share common experiences (including subject specific ‘in jokes’ that are likely to fly over the heads of their friends/family!) and offer peer support to one another. Speaking from experience, I can definitely say that it’s nice to feel part of a wider learning community if you are feeling isolated or struggling with the work that has been set.
My final recommended use for Facebook may sound like a strange one, but is this – let your students look at or post amusing and cute animal pictures every once in a while! If there is a lull in your lesson, or if motivation appears to be at an all-time low, why not locate an amusing meme of a cat? According to Japanese researcher Hiroshi Nittono, in a study for Hiroshima University, looking at cute pictures of puppies and kittens and amusing videos of grumpy cats can actually help to boost productivity… so there you have it! Science has spoken. Break out the pictures of tiny pigs wearing wellingtons!
Have you used Facebook in lessons? If so, how did you choose to use this popular Social Media platform? And was it successful? It would be great to hear from you and learn from your experiences as well as our own!