Facebook is a social media platform created for social networking in 2004, and it now has monthly users of around 3 billion. This platform is so widely used in societies that the idea of using it in education makes so much sense.
Scholars have done several studies in different disciplines regarding using Facebook in education. This article will discuss the use of Facebook in education, focusing on what students think of it, its potential benefits and advantages, and the challenges and limitations that might come with it.
What about students’ reactions to using Facebook in education?
Students nowadays can all be counted as technology experts. Or at least social media experts. New trends come so easily to students now that it seems natural, and they take almost no time to adapt to them. They are always willing and eager to do anything related to technology.
Using Facebook in education can be counted as a way to modernize learning and engage students in it in a way that will not bore them. Students enjoy using Facebook in learning as they do not think of it as something traditional or boring but as something new and entertaining.
Students spend lots of time on their smartphones jumping from one social media platform to another. In fact, they prefer to spend hours to edit Facebook story rather than studying; therefore, combining their education methods with Facebook and other social media platforms might pay off impressively.
Facebook, in particular, is well suited for sharing and discussing current events in the world, so using it as an educational resource and indulging it in learning will work just fine.
What about the benefits and advantages of using Facebook in education?
- Teachers and lecturers can help students gain digital skills by encouraging them to interact online. They can model for their students how to use digital tools correctly in class and lecture rooms and how to comment and share online content. They can use Facebook to teach students how to distinguish between real and fake news.
- Facebook is perfectly suited for sharing and discussing world events, whether big or small. That does not mean that it should be primarily used to deliver content but supplementally to encourage students to participate in commenting on content provided through different teaching methods.
- A good place for students to ask for information and get some help regarding their studies: they can post questions about their homework, school projects, coursework, or any other topics; then, they can get answers from friends, classmates, teachers, lecturers, or anyone else who may have experience with the said topic.
- Facebook has a “groups” feature. Using it, lecturers or teachers can create a public or private discussion space, avoiding having to broadcast all these conversations on their main feed. They can include people from all over the world interested in the topic or make it personal for their schools and class students.
- Students can also create groups for discussion and offer or get any help they might need concerning their homework, projects, tests, exams, or even about interacting with teachers and getting on their good side if required.
- Facebook also has group video calls that students can use for studying. All life forms in the pandemic became online with social distancing, so students could not get together and form study groups, which has proved to be super-efficient in increasing students’ productivity. So students started to have group video chats that enabled them to get the experience of group studying still, seeing, discussing, and interacting with their schoolmates in real time.
- Teachers or lecturers can use Facebook as an online classroom and join in with conversations. They can communicate with their students by creating live video streams to answer students’ questions. They can start live videos on their profiles and engage students in the discussion by allowing them to join in, listen to the lesson or lecture, and write a comment with any questions or participation they might have.
- Incorporating Facebook into educational settings can be beneficial in developing skills. Not only computer literacy skills but also new media literacy, digital literacy, and twenty-first-century literacy. Also, it lets students learn e-professionalism and how to distinguish between their personal and professional identities. Facebook can also help students improve their communication and writing skills.
- Studies have indicated that students using social networking sites are more creative in expressing themselves. They can differentiate their communication choices based on their audiences consciously.
- That means using many editing and proofreading skills that are usually emphasized in the classroom. There also might be a potential that it helps in developing language skills for non-native English speakers. It can enhance students’ confidence in English reading and writing. It can build new vocabulary.
What about the challenges and limitations of using Facebook in education?
- One of the biggest concerns about using Facebook in educational settings raised by both instructors and students is the possibility of the erosion of professional boundaries. Both parties must understand how to interact with each other in a way that promotes a positive perception of a classroom environment. That means not engaging in behaviors that can be seen as harmful.
- It can sometimes lead to teachers, lecturers, or students being super intrusive in a way that may irritate the recipient. That means when instructors get curious about students’ personal lives and start researching them using their Facebook accounts, it can surely also be vice versa, where students are interested in personal details concerning the lives of their instructors. A line must be drawn between being a friend and an instructor to the students.
- There is also the privacy problem, where some instructors and students refuse to have a Facebook account for various reasons. Some like to keep an offline life, and others dislike the platform. Privacy problems can also be in students and instructors refusing to use their accounts for teaching or learning purposes and liking to keep them for personal use only.
Both parties would not like the other to spy on them or know anything about their lives outside the campus or school. Some also have worries about the potential harassment or bullying they can get online.
- Some instructors believe that Facebook can be a serious distraction to students and can cause harm to their academic performance. Students may log in to the site for educational purposes and then get distracted by other kinds of content published on it, which will cause a huge waste of time and energy. Studies have shown that students using Facebook spend fewer hours studying per week than non-users.
These days traditional means of education are not working as well as they used to. That is because of all the technological changes and students preferring new and modernized ways that go along with their style of living.
So trying to include social sites that are already popular and liked by the new generations will increase their participation and motivate them to commit and do their work. Educational centers must always be open to trying and experimenting with new methods to see what will bring value and benefit the educational experience. They can use Facebook as a reference, focus on the benefits, and overcome challenges.