Saturday, March 29, 2008

Facebook and Education - Is it a Match?

Although increasing numbers of adults are signing up for Facebook, many secondary and post-secondary students using Facebook do not welcome the presence of their teachers in a realm they consider to be their own. "Facebook was created as a place for students, not for professors," says Steve Moskowitz, a sophomore at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. Students should be able to express themselves freely there, he says, without worrying what some professor will think.

Sara Lipka in For Professors,‘Friending’ can be Fraught, reminds us that “The old guy in the corner at a college party can come off as creepy. The same goes for a faculty member on Facebook, the online hangout first populated by students... they are negotiating the famously fraught teacher-student relationship in new ways”.

As a teacher, I value the professional relationship I have with my students and their parents. I would not be comfortable being friends with my students or their parents on Facebook, due to its intended informal nature. Even if my purpose was to share information about school, I think the nature of the social networking tool blurs the professional line.

Greg Notess, in An About-Face on Facebook, says “The main problem with Facebook and similar sites is deciding if it is worth the time invested”. For those who are isolated from family and friends, social networking could be a great way to stay connected. For others, it can simply be a waste of time, compromising time left for real life social engagements. In his article, Notess provides useful information on different social networks, levels of privacy on Facebook and ways to search Facebook (both as a member and a non-member). Notess also cautions potential users about being aware of the changing population of Facebook and how difficult it is to fully delete a Facebook profile.

1 comment:

Arlene said...

I never thought of a SN site profile as a biography, or I guess more specifically, an autobiography. That's an interesting take that I will have to think more about. arlene