I will readily admit that I was behind the curve when it came to understanding the need for and importance of social networking tools. All I knew about social networking was contained in the word “MySpace,” along with its negative publicity and potential risks to young adults. However, as I began to look at the various tools that were coming on board (try Ning, for instance), I began to see their value, especially to enhance collaboration/communication for students.
So today, I want to draw your attention to facebook, another social networking tool that might have some really good applications for students of all ages. Essentially facebook is another social networking tool, where people can join various online communities, talk and write about things that interest them, and have a place to stay connected. I can envision facebook and some of its tools being very useful for student collaboration and communication. I am especially intrigued by its “Study Groups” application, which offers a quick and easy way to get together online. First, let me tell you how to start with facebook:
Create an account. It’s pretty straightforward and self-explanatory.
Add the Study Groups application: To add an application, you simply click the Applications link at the top of your left-hand navigation bar of your facebook home page. After clicking this link, select the “Study Groups” application and install. Then you can create a Study Group with the following features:
- An overview of the study group
- Discussion forums
- File upload and sharing
- A calendar where student can schedule tasks
- A tasks list
- An invitation to others to join the study group
Pretty neat, huh? I can see students using the “Study Groups” feature to work on a group project, posting deadlines on the schedule and working together either synchronously or asynchronously. The way the Study Groups is organized makes for a pretty cool tool. You might just want to show it to your students and ask them to try it out, giving them an assignment and then finding out how they like it.