Part 1: Using Facebook as a learning platform

facebook-for-learningLet’s start this post by stating that Facebook was not actually created as a learning platform, it can however clearly be used to enhance and support elearning. Facebook is STILL the most convenient way to get connected to friends, get updated on existing friends, find new people, build relationships and express identities – so the big Facebook advantage is that your audience is most definitely there. Facebook makes it easy to network and interact with other virtual students, and because most people know how to use Facebook they don’t need to become familiar with a new platform.

It’s also relatively easy to create apps for Facebook, making it a great canvas for developers to add cool new functionality and get users involved pretty quickly. We have written about Facebook apps for elearning before in this post!

For those interested in using Facebook with students the following links may be of use: [Resource: Facebook as an “interactive learning resource”?]

1) Stephen Heppell: Using Facebook in the Classroom This page outlines the dos and don’ts of using Facebook with students. Examples include the following (and much more):

  • Do – build a separate teacher page for your “teacher” presence.
  • Do – keep your teacher and personal page very separate
  • Do – post pictures of school/lessons/trips – even diagrams you put on the board (snap them with your phone and post them) – it reminds students that you are there, generates a pride in the school and reminds them that this is not a vacuous space!
  • Don’t – ‘friend’ students yourself – not even as your “teacher” presence.
  • Don’t – accept complete ignorance of Facebook as an excuse for dangerous school policies like blanket bans. Instead offer to be an action researcher, and try it out for a year.

2) Perceptions of undergraduate Graphic Design students on the educational potential of Facebook  Abstract: The popularity of Facebook among university students inevitably raises questions on the educational potential of this Social Networking Site for Higher Education. From the limited literature on the instructional uses of Facebook, one can draw conflicting conclusions. Benefits were identified through the communicative potential, student participation in study groups and through informal learning, i.e. learning that takes place outside the formal structures of the learning environment. In contrast, it is also argued that the instructional benefits of Facebook are not straightforward. This phenomenographic investigation examines the perceptions of undergraduate Graphic Design students in a higher education institution, on the use of Facebook for teaching and learning. Characteristic of Art and Design education is the centrality of the studio and student self-reflection. Despite some literature that considers Facebook provides a viable alternative to the physical studio, the participants in this investigation expressed a preference for face-to-face instruction and consider Facebook as complimenting rather than replacing studio practices. Some participants benefited from the use of Facebook by joining support groups and exploring information relevant to their studies. Further research can investigate how Facebook can be embedded in studio-based teaching and learning.

The study found that “the interviewees in this investigation perceive educational benefits based on the communicative potential of Facebook. The diversity in the form and pattern of use poses less of a challenge for not all Facebook activities promote communication and it would be possible to focus on those that do.”

Official citation for this article is: Souleles, N. 2012. Perceptions of undergraduate Graphic Design students on the educational potential of Facebook. Research in Learning Technology 20: 17490. http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v20i0.17490

3) Students’ perceptions of using Facebook as an interactive learning resource at university This article is published in the AJET (Australasian Journal of Educational Technology) and has a good amount of data to support the assumption that students would use Facebook as part of their learning. The article states that Facebook as a “learning aid suggests that it has the potential to promote collaborative and cooperative learning” but further study is required to investigate how it can enhance the learning outcome.

Official citation for this article is: Irwin, C., Ball, L., Desbrow, B. & Leveritt, M. (2012). Students’ perceptions of using Facebook as an interactive learning resource at university. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(7), 1221-1232. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/irwin.html

4) I’ll See You On “Facebook”: The Effects of Computer-Mediated Teacher Self-Disclosure on Student Motivation, Affective Learning, and Classroom Climate  Another good academic article on the “effects of teacher self-disclosure via Facebook on anticipated college student motivation, affective learning, and classroom climate”. The study concludes that “certain forms of face-to-face self-disclosure can have disastrous effects on teacher credibility” and that “teachers can strategically reveal pictures, quotes, and personal information that present them as competent and trustworthy instructors who have the students’ best interests in mind”.

Official citation for this article is: Joseph P. Mazer, Richard E. Murphy & Cheri J. Simonds (2007): I’ll See You On “Facebook”: The Effects of Computer-Mediated Teacher Self-Disclosure on Student Motivation, Affective Learning, and Classroom Climate, Communication Education, 56:1, 1-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03634520601009710

5) Student engagement – differences between the VLE and Facebook This quote sums it up nicely:  “In the main, the Facebook page, which is run by and for the students without tutor involvement, is centred on support for learning and skills development and in every case I saw, answers to problems that emerged from discussions were factually correct. In addition, the students offer one another impressive levels of support and encouragement. From the evidence of their own Facebook group, then, students are not unwilling to work and learn collaboratively.” Read the full article for more!

In my next post I will share my favorite YouTube videos for using Facebook for elearning!

  • http://www.tmstaffordllc.com Tim Stafford

    Finishing a dissertation on this subject, so thanks for the information, i will include it where appropriate in my work.

    Tim Stafford