Most parents have a preconceived idea about Facebook and social medias. Some may think it is only for talking with friends (or enemies) or for sharing useless pictures and videos while others think Facebook is only a way to benefit advertisement companies in order to get information about future customers.
However, from a teacher’s point of view, the ability to share multiple articles and web pages in a few clicks is extremely attractive. According to Mark Miller, Facebook is a great place for a teacher to be present as students are very often connected and by having their teacher on Facebook, they know that they can communicate with him and have a quick answer. Furthermore, creating a group or page with the whole class is a great way to put everything linked with the course on a page where everyone can upload or see the content. As Ronnie Burt mentions, Facebook is a great tool because it does not require a huge amount of technological knowledge and most of the students and parents are already on Facebook so there is no need for the students to adapt to a new technology.
In order to benefit from Facebook’s use in class, it is important for the teacher to keep control of what happens on the group or page as well as everything else around, such as students’ profiles and his own profile. Losing control of the Facebook page is definitely where this experience can go from a success to a disaster. It is important to keep an eye on privacy settings when becoming friend with students, However, still according to Burt, it is possible to use Facebook in a class without friending students as we are doing in our Computer Applications class.
In my opinion, one great advantage of Facebook is that class discussions can continuer after class. If some students were very interested in the subject seen in a class, they can still share what they have to say with the whole class after school. In the same vein, with the use of Facebook, it is possible for students who have difficulties to ask questions to the whole class or directly to the teacher. For example, we have a closed facebook page with all the first years BEALS students. On this page, we can share lots of stuff in order to help each other studying or understanding new subjects. On the page, it is also possible to ask questions in order to get help when stuck on a homework at home. In this article, some good reasons of using Facebook are given. I think argument number 3 is very interesting because it is true that there are many students who are shy and usually won’t participate in class discussions. However, a Facebook page could allow them to share their opinion with the entire group without having to face the class when talking.
If parents are still not convinced about the benefits that Facebook can bring to a class, I encourage them to go ahead and get some information on different websites about how this social media can actually be used in a positive way inside a class. Here is an article from a teacher who used Facebook to keep parents informed about what was done in his class and got incredible feedbacks from the parents after asking if he should do the same the following year.