Part III: Facebook
If you’ve followed our blog lately, you know that we’ve covered the basics of both Instagram and Twitter in previous posts. Why did we leave Facebook for last? The simple reason is that we wanted to end with something familiar to most readers.
Although Instagram and Twitter are popular choices for educators, Facebook still has some traction in the educational world. Of course, some teachers still think Facebook is best for personal use only. Regardless of your view, you should still understand Facebook’s reach and follow good digital citizenship whenever you post.
If You Don't Have an Account
Joining Facebook is as easy as joining any other social network:
- On Facebook’s sign-up page, enter your name, e-mail address or phone number, and a new password.
- Click the “sign up” button.
Once you’ve logged in to your personal account, you will create a profile (aka “timeline”) page for yourself. Then, you can create educational or topical pages that link to your timeline. Start by clicking the “pages” link on the left sidebar of your home page; then, click the “create a page” button and design a classroom (or other topical) page.
How Educators Use Facebook
Occasionally, you may find that some young students already have Facebook accounts, having gained access on their own (with or without parental permission). But remember, like most other social platforms, Facebook is for those aged 13 and above. Therefore, avoid friending your students, both for their safety and yours.
However, feel free to create teacher/administrator groups and post relevant comments, inquiries, and articles on education. Or you can create an event (fundraisers or social gatherings) and invite others to participate. Facebook makes it easy to send invitations and remind friends about upcoming events.
If your school doesn’t block Facebook access on site, use your profile page to access videos, photos, or articles you’ve posted for educational use. If you’re already friends with a lot of other teachers and elementary school leaders, take advantage of those connections in an already-familiar format.
Another Facebook perk is that most Instagram and Twitter users automatically link their posts and tweets to show up on Facebook as well.
If in doubt about Facebook—or any other social media platform—consult your school’s digital citizenship policy or create an updated policy as fellow teachers and administrators. Once everyone agrees with the policy, put it into motion.
Finally, remember, social media are merely tools in the classroom. They don’t replace key curriculum components and time-tested strategies. But if you’ve never considered using social media in the classroom, now’s your time to try.
You may just find that you’ve helped your class in a new and exciting way!