Yet I don’t see Facebook in that negative light. I find it a compelling platform to to encourage language development, interpersonal communication, group collaboration, and of course, ICT skills improvement.
1. Language Development
Facebook requires students to express themselves and communicate in a written format. While it might not be proper writing, its at least writing something. And before we stifle learners with spelling and grammar rules (of which, I’m still ignorant of many) we should excite them with the possibilities that proper written communication can bestow.
2. Interpersonal Communication
What is Facebook but a forum for interpersonal communication – a key skill for personal development and future employment. We should encourage interpersonal skills in every format possible, from written digital formats like Facebook, to in-person skills in other environments.
3. Group Collaboration
By engaging with “friends”, Facebook users are honing the ways in which they can collaborate with others in groups. Schools should harness this to develop group collaboration skills and even project based learning activities that span subjects and grade levels.
4. ICT Skills
With the draw of Facebook to encourage them, students learn ICT skills without the need for boring step-by-step instruction. They gain skills through peer learning as well, feeding back into interpersonal communication and group collaboration. Or put it another way, with Facebook there is no need for introduction to computers course – the students will teach themselves.
Facebook can be an Educational Tool
In summary, schools who restrict or block Facebook are missing out on a great opportunity to use social networking to inspire children to learn and share using technology in transparent manner. Educators should embrace ICT tools like Facebook as a medium to excite and educate students. A rare feat in the modern educational experience.