This post was prompted by #GeoEdChat this week where many of the participants used social media with their classes but I was the only one using facebook.
Our Department facebook page was started in 2009 (2 years before I joined the school). This decision was made as our students were already all on facebook so it provided a ready means of communication. The page was created as a person that they could become friends with. Students could then share field trip photos by tagging us in or posting on our page. The Department could also communicate with students with important meetings set up as events, reminders about forms as our status and an easy way to share resources such as links to revision videos. Students have also used it to ask questions when studying at home and requesting extra tutorial sessions. This page has also helped with students who want to be friends with teachers online. It provides a way for them to get that interaction without getting access to teachers personal holiday photos etc.
Last year I created a new ‘person’ (Scholtaka) that only our Scholarship students could become friends with. It is incredibly important for students sitting the Scholarship exam to be as wide read as possible. With that in mind our Scholarship persona shared endless resources for students to read, comment on and discuss. The posts took on forum-like dimensions as with many links I gave thinking prompts or questions to respond to. Interestingly, the students that gained Scholarship were the ones who engaged most critically with these links throughout the year.
The final way that we have used facebook is with our overseas trips. The students and teachers who went on either our Hawaii or Amazon trips joined a group set up for the purpose of sharing information and reminders beforehand and then photos and videos afterwards.