Personally, I would never befriend a student on Facebook. I use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends and have strict privacy settings. I would like to keep my private life private. Most students are using Facebook to gossip with friends and share photos… all of which I am not interested in seeing.
However, my university instructor Dr. Alec Couros has suggested… why not have a personal Facebook page and a professional Facebook page… an idea I had never considered before. I started looking into this idea and asked myself… in what ways could teachers use Facebook as an educational tool in the classroom?
Well, I have discovered many new ideas…
Teachers could create a “public” Facebook page where students and parents alike can be added as friends. It could be used in lieu of a Blog and update students and parents on assignments, what’s going on in the classroom, upcoming events, discussion pages, if a student will be absent… all of which can keep students accountable and parents informed. Also, pictures and videos could be added to the Facebook page, instead of publishing them on the web.
Although these new ideas have opened my eyes, I think there are equally meaningful and beneficial ways to connect with students rather than using Facebook. I am currently learning about the “Blogging world” and am realizing this may be a more suitable online communication tool to use with students and parents rather than resorting to Facebook.
So to answer the question: Should teachers be friends with their students on Facebook?
I don’t think so!