Facebook and Education

Thoughts on Facebook as a Tool in Education

 A class blog, like a classroom, must remain suitable and safe.

 The conception of virtual space in the classroom (aka virtual space as an annex to the actual room) is hardly new, but is seemingly always controversial.

Slowly, with trepidation, I have built this annex in some of my class’ blueprints.  I find that assigning a creative, youthful blog entry every week perpetuates community and joyfulness in the actual classroom.  Not only do the students write with less fear, but also they offer each other feedback in the form of chronicled written support, in some cases, emotional comfort by way of blog commenting.  There are, of course, an exquisite number of typos and slang, but they ally with analysis. 

The blogs also encourage the students to capture the attention of peers in the classroom.  In other words, they exercise and practice the art of “engaging your readers.”  Effective use of details is also a beneficial byproduct. 

One student recently inquired on why I still hadn’t commented on his blog; he said, “I miss the comments this week,” demonstrating his desire for helpful feedback.  In addition, the students can access the blog on their phones and i-pads, enabling implementation of critical thinking in the realm of social media.

However, part of the instructor’s agenda is to instill the development of social maturity.  The benefits of appropriateness and privacy should continuously appear in the design of the class.  The choice of rhetoric modifies according to network.  For example, what a person chooses to post on Facebook can vary greatly from what the person chooses to post on Instagram or the professional network, Linked-In. 

This ability to customize rhetorical choices according to the culture of each social network ought to appear in the class landscape.  Facebook, unlike an institutionally supervised class blog, for instance on Blackboard, carries the potential for overly personalized, casual and perhaps ill-fitted interactions between not only the students, but also between the instructor and the students.  The cultural rhetoric of Facebook does not align with the professional aims of an educational establishment.  In addition, a blog on Blackboard is not spackled with unmonitored advertisements.  A class blog, like a classroom, must remain suitable and safe.

By: Nicole Hospital-Medina, MFA



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