Tag Archives: 21st century learning

Guest Post: Facebook in the Classroom

Facebook in the Classroom

by Andrea Erins

While Facebook was once discouraged and even banned from many classrooms and schools, educators are beginning to embrace the social networking tool as a way to enhance students’ learning experience.

So how can teachers use Facebook in the classroom, you might ask? Here are some ideas.

1. Classroom Groups – This is one of the most popular ways that teachers are using Facebook. Teachers can give students Facebook-related assignments such as posting what they learned or questions they have on the group “wall.” This will encourage other students can respond and encourages collaborative learning through discussion. The teacher can also post relevant links with additional material for the students to view.

The key to using a classroom group on Facebook is to make it private. Teachers should create separate profiles with strict privacy settings that they only use for school. Students can also create separate accounts or they can simply adjust their privacy settings to limit what content the teacher sees. The classroom group should also be private so that only the teacher, students, school administrators, and parents can view it.

2. Messages – Facebook is a great way to keep everyone informed. Teachers can send messages to everyone in the classroom group about unexpected absences, upcoming events, rescheduled exams, or missed assignments. They can also send a private message to an individual student or parent – these days, many people will be more likely to respond to Facebook than to an email.

3. Sharing Content – Teachers can post a link to an interesting webpage, article, or video that they want their students to view. They could also add photos from a recent class trip or project. They can even post notes from class, homework assignments, or study guides. Even students can get involved and post related links or photos to enhance the learning experience.

4. Keep Everyone Updated – If a parent has a Facebook account, it’s easy for them to stay updated on classroom happenings. All they have to do is check the class group page. If they have a specific concern, they can also send a private message to the teacher.

5. Class Project – Facebook itself can turn into a class project. Have students make Facebook profiles for fictional characters or historical figures and have them interact with each other the way the characters would. The students will get into the role-playing aspect and will embrace this chance to check Facebook as part of their homework, rather than use it as a distraction from doing work.

 

Andrea Erins has been a college professor for 13 years and likes to write about various topics related to education. She is the owner of the site  Masters in Education.

 

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Filed under Education

BC’s New Education Plan Unveiled Today!

 

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What is BC’s New Education Plan?

George Abbott, minister of Education, put out a missive this week that seemed to mostly fly under the radar (thanks to Susan Skinner, North Vancouver Trustee, for pointing it out).

The plan contains many ideas we’ve heard before, but not a lot of detail about any proposed changes. There are 5 key elements to the “plan”:

  • Personalized learning for every student.
  • Quality teaching and learning.
  • More flexibility and choice.
  • High standards.
  • Learning empowered by technology.
Do you foresee any of these changes occuring?
And how will they ultimately look?

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Filed under BC politics, Education, Sunshine Coast Board of Education

Sunshine Coast Teachers’ Blogs

At the public Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night (Sept. 13-for those of you who missed it) Pender Harbour Secondary principal Mark Heidebrecht gave the Board and audience a brief but informative overview on the use of technology by educators on the Sunshine Coast. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Sunshine Coast Board of Education, Sunshine Coast News and Politics, Sunshine Coast School Board

A bad teacher’s blog: what not to do.

Classy image from teacher's blog.

When I first came across this piece about a bitter teacher and her blog Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket, I thought it would be interesting as a cautionary tale about being in the public eye and blogging–you know, a reminder that things can (and will) be taken out of context, misunderstood, or misrepresented. After scanning a couple more headlines, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, knowing that teachers are held to a higher standard than most. I also know that working with kids, while exhilarating, can be frustrating and exhausting at times.

And, let’s face it: sometimes kids are annoying.

I’ve been known to use some hyperbole or edgy humour, maybe even a dash of sarcasm to convey a message in an interesting way. But as I read this woman’s blog posts (which she has now deleted-cached posts here and here) it became apparent to me that she had lost her desire to teach (assuming she once had it,) and was either not fully aware of it yet, or didn’t have the fortitude to get out. To me her posts were just escalating cries of “please fire me.” Some choose death by cop. This was a classic case of death by blog. Continue reading

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Teachers: Got Vision? Tell a trustee!

I recently replied thusly–

“Do you have to start a new school to utilize the great ideas here? What’s stopping one from implementing these ideas? (I see from your earlier posts that you have already started.) I’m not being argumentative or facetious here. I’m a school trustee (BC, Canada) and if a teacher presented me with this vision I’d say, “let’s make it happen.” Here’s the rules: a) you probably can’t have much more money. b)students need to learn certain things (and be able to demonstrate that-somehow.) Those stipulations are significant, no doubt, but do they necessarily prevent your vision?”

–to a teacher’s post in which she imagined a school that implemented some bold, positive changes in the approach towards educating children. I would say the ideas fit nicely into many of the aspects of the 21st Century Learning discussions we’ve been having.

I do believe that to be true–that is I would love to hear (and support) creative/innovative approaches to education in our district.

So, try me.

Of course keep talking to your colleagues and our educational leaders, but don’t forget about your simple but proud trustees. You might be surprised by the willingness to explore new approaches and ideas.

We just want to be included. Our cold stares only mask the bitter loneliness deep inside us*. Facebook friends aren’t real friends.

*some trustees may be neither bitter or lonely. Or staring.

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Filed under Education, Sunshine Coast Board of Education

Is French language instruction a “sacred cow” in BC schools?


The MoE has sparked some outrage with a document that seems to propose allowing children to choose to learn a second language other than French in BC public education, but is this really a big deal?

First of all, if our current practice of requiring children to take French classes is kid-focused-that is, truly in the best interest of kids–then I’m all for it. One hundred and ten percent. But, if the practice is more rooted in tradition, and not necessarily for the benefit of children, then it’s worth a look. Continue reading

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Filed under BC politics, Canadian politics, Education