Why we should and shouldn’t use Facebook in the classroom

There are many reasons why we should and shouldn’t do certain things.  Take Facebook for example.  There are many reasons for and against why any school/teacher should use Facebook in the classroom.  There are a number of compelling agruments for and against, but here is one for each side of the argument:

  • We shouldn’t use Facebook, because we haven’t had enough professional development for teachers and administrators on how to best use this tool in educational settings.
  • We should use Facebook, because student behavior online is often unacceptable, which is a new literacy students need to learn: interacting online using social networking sites (if you don’t think this is a new literacy we need to be teaching, do a Google search for cyber bullying and you will have all the evidence you need).

As we look at the reasons why any given technology, like Facebook, shouldn’t be used, don’t let yourself use poor student behavior be a reason for not using them.  If you do, then you’re really just making the problem worse, because you have now become part of the problem.  Correcting student behavior is something teachers and administrators do every day in school, but for some reason we don’t think we can help students develop an internal censor (otherwise known as a conscience) when they use online tools.  I don’t know why we feel we are helpless.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t know enough about the tool and would rather be ignorant than proactive.

Enough is enough!  Take matters into your own hands and start asking questions that get at the real reasons why you aren’t using social networking sites in your school/classroom.  Is it the fear of student behavior using the tools or is it a training issue?  The former is a non issue, while the latter is something you have control over.  Stop making excuses and start tackling the real problems preventing you from creating the type of learning environment we know our students need to be successful.  Social networking sites do have value in education, we just need to unleash their power.


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