Monday, October 11, 2010

Facebook as an Education Tool

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What started out as as platform to connect university students in Harvard College, facebook has now become a social media network that hosts 500 million users across the globe. One wouldn't just be able to communicte with his/her college mates or colleagues, but s/he can also communicate with the loved ones, the parents, the children, the sibling, etc. Although facebook limits the age of its users (should be at least 14), but nowadays, especially in Indonesia, even 3rd graders get hooked on facebook what with its plethora of games.

Now, how can we ride this facebook phenomenon, before it meets its death just like its predecessors friendster and hi5 and making use of the platform for educational purposes? According to the interview with facebook's representative, Ethan Beard, there are hundreds of applications in facebook that can be used for educational purposes.

Below are some of the applications I've used in the past for my classes.

  1. Notes : This is an excellent tool to publish the students' works. It also allows the students and you to make comments on the posts. To make sure that the intended users do not miss any of his/her friends' posts, they can tag their friends; that way, they can be notified when a post is up. I ask students to post most of their written assignments here. The cons: 1) Its forced formatting; you can't make any changes. It was a big deal then because I asked students to indent the first line of the new paragraph and this was impossible to do in Notes. 2) You really need to remind students to tag all of their friends in the class. Some students are too shy to share their works with others. 3) You only can keep track of the assignments posted if they tag you. Another painful and time-consuming way is to check their profiles one by one. Not a good idea when your 3 course-meals is up before a profile is uploaded.

  2. Slideshare : This is a good tool to share your ppt/pdf files from your class to students. Cons: Students with a slow connection will hate this apps with a vengeance.

Keep watching this space because I'm going to try various facebook education apps.

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