Facebook, the premiere social networking site, is used by hundreds of thousands of students all over the world. While the site has become somewhat of a nuance for most teachers—they distract from valuable study and class time—some schools are embracing the social media site with welcoming arms. Not only are some schools incorporating Facebook into their lesson plans, but they are also tutoring students as young as 6-years-old on how to 'properly' use the site.
Yes, students are being tutored how to use Facebook.
This school year, teachers at Bluff Gunn Elementary, a school located in Iowa, decided to use Facebook in the hopes that they could create an interactive learning environment for their students—showing them the positive ways of using the site and the importance of a social networking— while squeezing a few spelling and grammar lessons in between. While many may frown at the idea of fourth graders using Facebook in the classroom, teachers at Gunn argued that the site helps students reinforce information while simultaneously allowing parents to monitor what their child is learning in class.
How do they do this, exactly?
Upon the class' completion of the core curriculum, no matter what the subject, teachers will log on to Facebook and ask students to update the class profile page. The trick is that students can only have updates pertaining to what was taught that day. Teachers require that students really synthesize the day's lesson and incorporate specific details it into the status update. The status is then collectively checked for sentence structure and spelling and grammar mistakes before the status is entered. In turn, parents who filled out a consent form allowing their child to participate in the classroom Facebook page can view the updates. This way, they can keep track of what their child is being taught in school. In addition to being able to view important announcements and assignment deadlines, they can also view classroom photos, videos, and other student- work, published only with the consent of the parent naturally.
First graders at Gunn Elementary also learn Facebook, however the grammar portion is geared more towards the fourth grade students.
While schools like Gunn are trying to get hip with times by incorporating networking sites like Facebook into their lesson plans, do you think that Facebook in the classroom—especially taught at such a young age—is a good idea? While there is no concrete evidentiary support stating how young Facebook users tend to be, most typically start in middle school, not grade school. So, do you think these schools are just trying to beat their students to the punch, meaning –the students will get a Facebook eventually, so teachers might as well inform them how not to abuse the site starting now?; or do you think these schools are in a sense forcing students to adopt these sites that they might have never wanted to use on their own?
This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: firstname.lastname@example.org.