McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Community News Network

July 10, 2014

How professors are using Facebook to teach

WASHINGTON — Technology is an established part of the lives of students. But university lecturers are becoming increasingly frustrated at how they must compete with tablets and laptops for students' attention in the lecture hall. In the U.S., Dartmouth computer science professor Dan Rockmore has recently stoked debate in a "New Yorker" article arguing that laptops should be banned in the classroom.

Perhaps weary lecturers should be looking at the problem from a different angle and asking whether social networking sites such as Facebook can actually become a good place to teach. Or at least communicate with their students.

Some research has argued that Facebook and other social media networks have educational potential. Facebook can promote interaction between students and teachers - such as making announcements, discussions and sharing resources.

Other South African research investigating student use of Facebook and lecturer engagement with students via the platform found lecturers saw it as an easier and quicker way to contact students. Students, particularly shy ones, were more comfortable asking questions via Facebook and they also felt lecturers were more approachable after they had interacted with them via Facebook.

But teachers have to combat the fact that growing evidence suggests the value of Facebook in higher education does not yet relate to formal learning at all, but rather to students' quest for social networking.

Previous research has found that students prefer to keep Facebook for their personal lives rather than bringing it into the educational setting. They prefer to use Facebook for more informal learning (communication about course content and peer support) rather than formal learning.

Facebook can also be a useful tool to help students integrate into university life through meeting friends and providing a good network for support and sharing information about the course.

Research exploring Twitter in academia has also found it is a useful and viable learning tool. It can enhance active and informal learning through increased (24/7) communication and allow students to create and share ideas as well as foster collaboration outside and inside the classroom.

Stay connected

But students and teachers need to be aware that their online activity leaves a digital footprint and they need to be professional in the way they interact online. Reports have highlighted cases of people being sacked due to unprofessional behavior online.

My recent research has investigated the attitudes of university teachers to the use of Facebook in the classroom. I found they do not tend to use such tools in their teaching, but would like more guidelines about online professionalism and how to use Facebook for educational purposes.

Those teachers who do use Facebook in their teaching found more positives than negatives, suggesting it enhances communication between lecturer and student. Facebook was viewed as beneficial because it increased and enhanced the student experience through class discussions outside of the classroom.

But teachers are aware of the importance for both lecturer and student to be conscious of their digital footprint and adhere to professional standards online.

Using social media to teach is still a rarity. But there are many social media tools educators could utilize such as Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Deborah Abdel Nabi at the University of Bolton even successfully uses Second Life to enable students to learn the psychology of cyberspace.

There is also continuing interest in how to use "off-the-shelf" computer games to teach. Some schools have employed computer games in the classroom to teach a variety of subjects in creative ways.

More should be done to encourage and support the use of social media within teaching and learning. Increasing ways to engage students and encourage students to learn outside of the classroom environment is valuable to everyone. It's either that, or find that half the class is playing Candy Crush instead.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
NDN Video
Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Rory McIlroy struggles, surges, wins British Open NOW TRENDING: Real life Pac-Man Explosions as hot air balloon crashes in Clinton DUI Driver Dragged to Safety by Officer After Walking Onto Busy Freeway Celebrities That We'd Like to Send to the Moon Spectacular lightning storm hits London Malaysian Flight Victim Was South Florida Grad Rory McIlroy on pace to break British Open records Officials Fear MH17 Site Now Tampered by Rebels Lowes employees repair Vietnam vet's wheelchair Widow of Staten Island man who died after NYPD takedown says he was unjustifiably targeted
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.