Facebook – to use or not to use? Should teachers be friends with students on Facebook? This has been an ongoing debate educators have been faced with as schools take a giant step towards integrating technology into the classroom. Like all controversial topics Facebook use in the classroom has it’s supporters as well as opposers.
Supporters of Facebook in the classroom are adamant that Facebook can be used for class projects, improved communication, and student engagement that was never possible in the traditional classroom. Online College.org shares 100 ways to use Facebook effectively in the classroom. Most kids are already active users of Facebook and check the site everyday. In addition to high student usage, Facebook also contains features such as bulletin boards, instant messaging, email, and the capacity to for posting videos and pictures. Check out the educational apps on Facebook at The Facebook Classroom.Facebook offers a place for students to help one another and offer support regarding class assignments, projects, or exams. Teachers can use Facebook to connect with students regarding assignments, upcoming events, and other useful information from outside the classroom. With all these benefits why are there still opposers to teachers and students being friends on Facebook?
Some people believe that in order to maintain respect there has to be a distance between teachers and students. Once students and teachers become friends on Facebook they is no longer that distinction between teacher-student relationship and friendship. Your personal life outside of school no longer exists. You always hear about sexual assault allegations between teachers and students, Facebook is just another place where such allegations can occur. As a teacher you don’t have control over what your students are posting and this can reflect badly on you.
After weighing both sides of the debate I must say I’m a supporter of Facebook in the classroom but with some restrictions. If Facebook is to be used in the classroom I would create a new Facebook account for the purpose of the classroom. This account would only contain information about the class. I would also add parents and/or other teachers so they know exactly what is going on as well. I would never add a student to my personal Facebook account because I feel that there still needs to be some distance to maintain a proper relationship. I want to maintain a distinction that a teacher- students relationship is different from a friendship.