Should I be on “The Facebook”

In the normal classroom discussion the other day I was interested to find that everyone in the class (16 of them) have joined a Facebook group that one of them set up as a Literature study group. They’re all there, I asked and checked, and are discussing and asking questions and supporting each other (I hope) and pushing each other in the right directions (I hope)

I hope because I’m not sure. And I’m not sure because I’m not there. I’m not allowed to ‘friend’ students or be connected to them in social networks according to our school policy; a policy that I had a hand in developing. But, you’ve got to wonder. Here am I out here, trying to utilise our own online tools including a pretty decent wiki and blog setup, to get student collaboration and participation going and, here are they in there, doing it themselves, in their space, where they live, with the whole class.

I know you could argue that I shouldn’t be there, that it would change the dynamics if I was, and that they should have a space where they can test and re-test their ideas in their own way. True. And I don’t want to take over. But I could contribute, could support, could help shape that discussion and use that discussion to shape the classroom interactions and the things we do next. Could. Can’t.

4 thoughts on “Should I be on “The Facebook”

  1. How frustrating!! To be honest I don’t really get the social network ban. If you’re allowed to talk to them in class, write messages/feedback on work, chat in the hallway, discuss their out of school interests, take them on camp…being online with them is just another communication tool that requires the same level of professionalism as all other areas. What do the students think??

  2. If the Facebook page was only for class purposes, I might join, but would not want them to have access to my regular Facebook page. On the other hand, why not leave them a space where they can help each other. They can bring the questions and conclusions they devise to class and discuss them there. The challenge of helping each other will be lessened if the professor is looking on.

    I have “friended” a couple of students on Facebook, and decided not to do that again. My politics, family connections, opinions, writings, and annoyances show up on my Facebook page, and I don’t want that to interfere with student interaction. They might end up writing essays to please me, which would be awful.

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