Not Just a Teacher

binge thinking on technology and education

Not Just a Teacher

Dealing With Facebook

April 24th, 2011 · 8 Comments · General

Facebook – Love it or hate it, use it or avoid it like the plague? There is little doubt that the vast majority of young people love it. A sizable number of the young people we teach in our schools use it frequently, many on a nightly basis. I picture it as the modern equivalent of the scenes I used to watch in American films of the 80’s where all high schoolers would have a phone in their bedroom and spend their evenings ‘calling’ their ‘girlfriends’ or those phones with the really long cords that everyone American household seemed to have in their kitchen. (How did they avoid getting the cord tangled?!?!)

But I digress…

For the foreseeable future it seems to be a part of young peoples’ lives that attend our schools and our classes. To my knowledge most schools do not allow Facebook to be accessed in school. Yet, for a lot of schools, activities on Facebook outside of school seem to cause regular discipline issues in schools. Some of these are major issues involving bullying, threats, rumour-spreading amongst other things.

So, how should schools be Dealing With Facebook as regards these issues? Or, indeed, have any schools addressed these issues successfully already and in what ways?

There are suggestions that Facebook being allowed in schools would address these issues. Yet. for most schools this really would be a step too far. Other views I have encountered have suggested that education re online behaviour is the key but what if you already do that (as any school with a decent ICT curriculum should do) and the problem remains?

Please share your thoughts and experiences. I have little doubt that many have asked similar questions to the ones in this post and some may even have addressed the issues I have described. After all this is nothing new. But please share.


8 Comments so far ↓

  • Anne

    I don’t think that allowing access to Facebook in schools, especially large schools. (I work in a school of 1500 plus students) would address behavioural issues, because it would just be too unmanageable, and therefore in my opinion, create more problems. However, I do think that schools should use Facebook as another means of communicating with students and parents, because it is therefore easily monitored, not to mention more able to cope with traffic regarding bad weather days, when parents need to find out if the school is open or not! Also, as you say, it is the preferred way of socially networking and currently “a way of life”. So I do think that there is a need for schools to embrace Facebook as a bulletin board, but not in the true social networking side of it. There are similar programs to use for this such as Edmodo that does the job well (providing that is not blocked in school!)

  • Lyndylynnyloo

    Hi… I teach in a pupil referral unit. If they could, our kids were spend all day on it at school. We can take our filter off if they wish to grab images from their facebook or show us something on there… But one way I have involved the school positivel. Is to have set up a school fb profile. I use this to put out information on a daily basis because I know they’ll check fb everyday! The privacy settings are set to the highest, but they can comment on the statuses but that’s all. So far they’ve all added it and have been sensible with it! So far , it’s been very successful 🙂

  • Diana

    I agree that schools need to address how they handle Facebook. Most seem to be hoping it’s just a trend that will eventually go away. This doesn’t seem likely in the near future. Lynn’s idea of at least having a school profile on Facebook is a good starting point for schools. It really is the fastest way to communicate with both students and parents. Twitter could also be used for messages. I’m really impressed with the work Heathfield have done using Twitter to enhance class projects – but is this easier to do at Primary School level?

    • largerama

      Thanks for that Diana. I do wonder as to how much easier certain things are given numbers in primary compared to secondary and the reduction in outside influences ( I’m thinking that primary school children are more monitored in controlled in what they do in and outside school in terms of friendship circles ect)

  • damoward

    Hey Nick
    Recently re-read this as I wrote a blogpost on the attention-economy and facebook. Read it here:
    Still interested in why kids do what we ask at all – primarily intrinsic motivation to learn/take part.
    Would be interested in your view..

  • Simon Calderbank

    I respect your blog and am not looking for a free advert!
    I would like to tell you about what we are doing with Facebook and schools. It is in line, and driven by, some of the comments above. It has been over 6 months in development and is about to be launched.
    Your comments and questions are most welcome.
    Please feel free to use our Facebook app for your personal page without charge.
    We are all about parental and community engagement.
    Many thanks

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