We are in the early stages of using Facebook for educational purposes at Shepherd High School. I have access and am using Facebook for the media center. One pleasant surprise was how many people asked to be members of my group! I didn’t have to send out very many invitations before more students started adding the media center page to their Facebook. I added some posts about books students might like to see added to the media center, books people are reading, other suggestions to improve the media center, and so forth. I haven’t seen a lot of traffic there yet, but part of that is due to the fact that I have not actively updated that information myself. I believe that my own presence in the group will help to drive its success. One thing I have considered is making it a requirement for my Applied Technology and Media Services students to make weekly contributions to the group. That would spur traffic—and they love that kind of thing!
One thing I particularly like about having the Facebook group is that I am able to invite everyone who has joined the group, as well as anyone else who is one of my friends on Facebook, to any events that are being held in the Media Center. I received a grant from our local Community Foundation to hold book and movie events, and we are having a fun Michael Jackson night in the near future to view This Is Iton the big screen in the media center. I love the ability to quickly set up an event, invite a large number of individuals, and watch for RSVPs all in one location.
My colleague Jay Gross is also running a pilot with Facebook in his English classrooms. So far, he says that the kids are excited about the prospect. He has set up a template, which is (naturally) a bit time-consuming on the front end. He mentioned that he may use Facebook for students to create mock profiles of characters in books (I love that!). If you have set up a Facebook page or group to use with your students, please add comments here! I’m sure Jay would love your ideas as he moves forward. Consider attending Andy Mann’s session at MACUL as well. He’s fantastic! I will be back with a Facebook update in just a few weeks and will respond to your comments as they are posted.