Best Practices for Teachers Using Facebook
The golden Facebook rule for teachers is if you have a personalFacebook page, then keep it personal. Having students as Facebook friends could lead to potential problems that are easily avoidable. Because the focus of Facebook is a one-on-one personal atmosphere, mixing students in your personal life through Facebook is considered by most to be unprofessional. Here are some tips for best practices when utilizing Facebook in the classroom.
- Follow Your School’s Facebook Policies
Chances are your school has a written guideline for using Facebook and other social media sites in the classroom. This is where you should begin your research for including Facebook in lesson plans. Your school’s guide should let you know how you can and can not use Facebook as a learning tool.
- Create a Classroom Page
The most professional way to create a public online classroom community is by creating a Facebook page. This page will be completely separate from your personal page and will require a different email. It is recommend you use your school email. You can post related class content on the page and students can post comments as well. As the administrator, you can edit comments on posts, photos, and other content. Depending on your school’s policies, you can allocate administrative roles such as “Content Creator” or “Moderator” to students. As anyone can like the page and access it’s online content be sure to keep it professional and class related. Please see the following brief screencast “The Basics of a Facebook Page for Educators” that looks at the features and uses of a Facebook page in an academic setting and contrasting it with the features of a Facebook group.
- Create a Facebook Class Group
Your class needs a more intimate place to meet on Facebook if you truly want to make the most of this powerful networking tool. Here, students can connect through virtual chat and ongoing online discussion topics. They can also access course related material such as videos, articles, and PDF files. It is recommended you keep the group “closed” to protect privacy and encourage deeper connections. Watch this YouTube video to learn more about how to do this: “Setting Up a Facebook Group for Your Class”.
- Set Boundaries
Make your expectations clear to students who are participating in your classroom Facebook pages and groups. Create a “contract” that each student must sign and that includes such behavior agreements as no put-downs or foul language.
Once you are aware of your school’s Facebook policies and are ready to start using Facebook in the classroom, you’ll need some ideas to help get you started.