At BLC10, we had the opportunity to have Erin and Devin Schoening, from Council Bluff, Iowa, present a session on how Facebook can be utilized in class with first grade students. You heard it right – first grade. The two explained how Erin’s class uses Facebook every day to connect with the families of her students as well as with other interested educators and administrators. During her session, she described the use of notes, private messages, picture sharing, video sharing, link sharing to keep up a dialogue amongst all of these parties.
As Erin and Devin were quick to explain, this was not an overnight decision. The two worked with district administrators to develop guidelines, strategies and communication policies for how this tool could be used in her classroom. They obviously did their homework, and I applaud the district for thinking about how to best co-op this tool in the classroom.
Obviously, being on the bleeding edge comes with a great deal of praise and a great deal of pause. Does Facebook have any place in our classrooms? Is exposing students to a social networking tool like this appropriate when they are in first grade? What are the privacy concerns? These are all appropriate questions and ones we should be asking with anything we do.
Recently, Jeff Utecht shared a blog post also commending the two on their successes with this program, and the post brought up a lot of discussion – good discussion. Also, he shared the following Prezi.
It’s my hope that all educators take the time to look for ways to innovate, involve administration in this innovation and continue to ask questions about whether or not the tools so many feel are important are really important enough, safe enough and are in alignment with good pedagogy. Some will be, and others won’t. But through the education of all parties, we can make the best decision together and not respond out of what we think we know.