Facebook has become a contentious issue in many computer classrooms at my school. Some teachers have gotten on-board and are using it as an effective tool for group work and other projects.  Others feel it is a waste of time and district IT support is concerned over increasing demands on our school network bandwidth. There is no shortage of material in existence that extols the virtues of this modern communication tool but is it something we can live without or is it becoming a necessary communication tool?Facebook in the Classroom

On the other hand, one can argue that the primary use of Facebook is merely a social communication tool, no different from a cellphone. We don’t allow cellphones in the classroom so why should we allow Facebook?

The cautionary literature exists as well. Facebook use creates many other concerns over privacy, cyber-bullying, and innapropriate content.

In my opinion, the jury is still out for my classes. As a strong supporter of new technologies, I am reluctant to blacklist any one technology because of misuse or misunderstanding.

Personally in my classes, we use various forms of Social Networking such as Google Groups, the Edublog, and Twitter. These are all useful and provide quantifiable benefits to my students.

My main concern over Facebook use is the seemingly “addictive” nature of it. I have students that find it quite challenging to stay off Facebook and if they are asked not to use it during class time, they will be accessing on their phones instead. Anything that becomes compulsive or addictive should be moderated in my opinion.

During the last week of February, I will be promoting a “Facebook Free February” campaign. It is inspired by students at Harrisburg University in Pennsylvania. The goal of this will be to have a class give up Facebook for one week and blog about their experiences. They will share their ideas and thoughts through our class blog. They will write about how limiting this tool has affected them. It will be an interesting experiment and I would love to hear your feedback and opinions on the matter.

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