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Social Media Best Practices: Facebook in the Classroom

11 Jun 2015 by Scott Sterling

The use of social media in the classroom has evolved to the point that certain things are taken for granted. For example, your class probably has a Facebook® page or group you use to communicate with students and parents. Therefore, this post isn't for beginners. Here are the social media best practices on how to use Facebook in your classroom:

A 21st-century lesson

Forget the library. Take an existing lesson of yours that involves research, documentation and production, and modernize it. Have students use Facebook to reach out to original sources (not just Google or Wikipedia), collaborate with each other, and publicize their findings or creations. This is how the world works now, and that will be even truer when your students enter the workforce.

Competitions for freebies

Companies that operate in the educational market, and those just looking for a public relations boost, consistently run and publicize contests on their Facebook feeds for students. Have kids follow those companies and propose contests to the group in which they think the class can have success. Persuading people through communication skills is a big focus in Common Core State Standards.

Fake profiles

For better or worse, Facebook has very little validation on the people who sign up. They may or may not exist. So what's the harm in creating fake profiles for people who didn't exist — or don't exist anymore? This is ideal for biography projects ranging from fictional characters in English to famous scientists of the past. If you're worried about legality or are studying someone still alive, use Fakebook instead.

Back channeling

We all know many students who are fantastic but don't participate in class for a variety of reasons. Back channeling can help. Set up a chat session on your Facebook page and start a passive lesson like a lecture or video. By projecting the chat session onto a screen, shy students no longer have to raise their hands. This is obviously subject to the device rules at your school.

Online permanence

Try to find your old Myspace® page. Perhaps you even had a LiveJournal® account. Chances are, it's still there. Students need to understand that whatever is posted online doesn't go away. Form a lesson around digital citizenship and online permanence. This might not be in your standards (if needed, file it under the appropriate digital publishing standard), but it could make a difference in students eventually getting hired or not receiving callbacks for interviews.