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MySpace and Facebook -- OK for classes?Perhaps this has already been addressed by...

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 17, 2008 at 4:30 PM via web

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MySpace and Facebook -- OK for classes?

Perhaps this has already been addressed by others here, but I'm curious: Do you as a teacher feel that using MySpace and Facebook in the classroom is defensible by noting that both are "real world" technology and communication? Do you feel that because kids relate to it, it is more capable of producing engaged learners? Is any writing practice (including blogging and IMing) good practice? My feelings on this one are still up in the air a bit, as I am a big proponent of technology use in the classroom, but given the content of both sites, I see how they could be considered too controversial for classroom use. My current school feels that both are acceptable for the classroom, as long as the teacher is being judicious about what he or she is showing the children, and as long as the teacher is using common sense regarding curriculum. Your thoughts, please...

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted July 17, 2008 at 4:45 PM (Answer #2)

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At my college, Facebook and MySpace are blocked on all college computers.  I personally don't find MySpace or Facebook to be useful at all in my classroom.  I know there'll be a few people who will disagree with me, but that's JMHO.

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jsmckenna | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 17, 2008 at 6:36 PM (Answer #3)

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I also am a big proponent of technology in the classroom, but I have yet to figure out a way that sites like Facebook and MySpace could be useful for my particular learning environment.  Perhaps some teachers could post how the sites could be used in the current classroom as a learning tool?

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 18, 2008 at 4:13 AM (Answer #4)

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One thought that had occurred to me was just this: If a teacher uses a Facebook group (short story lovers, ReadWide Media, etc.) for classroom examples or information, that could be practical. The teacher in question would have to be the one who used it from an LCD projector or something similar to prevent abuse, however. It's waaayy too easy for kids to navigate web pages in social networking sites and end up doing all kinds of wrong things.

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 18, 2008 at 7:05 AM (Answer #5)

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My district's firewall blocks myspace, facebook, and youtube. I don't support using them in the classroom. There are better ways to use technology. Why not create a blog? Why not set up a discussion group on eNotes? Why not have discussion groups on your school's web page?

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 18, 2008 at 7:12 AM (Answer #6)

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YouTube -- now there's one that deserves some discussion. After all, there are plenty of educator-produced videos that could positively contribute to various classes, including language arts. Admittedly, kids are more receptive to the familiar, and if it's one thing they know, it's YouTube.

I probably wouldn't be opposed to using its better resources in class, as long as I had control over it and kids weren't watching something offensive.

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lewismct | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 18, 2008 at 7:57 AM (Answer #7)

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I do not use MySpace and Facebook in the classroom, but I do have my students blog their writing assignment.  I have control over what is published, and students can read each other's poetry etc. and make comments.  It is also an electronic portfolio that students can view 24/7.  My students really enjoyed blogging this year and I intend to always use blogging as a writing portfolio.  You can check out my blog at http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger%20id=101635

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 21, 2008 at 6:13 AM (Answer #8)

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I do not use MySpace and Facebook in the classroom, but I do have my students blog their writing assignment.  I have control over what is published, and students can read each other's poetry etc. and make comments.  It is also an electronic portfolio that students can view 24/7.  My students really enjoyed blogging this year and I intend to always use blogging as a writing portfolio.  You can check out my blog at http://classblogmeister.com/blog.php?blogger%20id=101635

Thanks for posting the address of your blog. Yes, they are very convenient for classroom use and technology integration. Another site that allows educators to initialize free classroom blogs (check with your administrator) is www.epals.com.

They have several backgrounds and layouts to choose from, and much like lewismct described, you as the teacher maintain complete control over its content. Students are provided with i.d.'s and passwords, and from that point, the teacher is in charge.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted July 21, 2008 at 8:08 AM (Answer #9)

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We are thinking of enabling blogs for all on eNotes, hoping that our safer, moderated environment would be more appropriate for classroom use as opposed to something that has so many other uses, like Facebook and MySpace. Is that something that you think teachers would appreciate?

Our position, as (mostly) non-educators is that technology definitely belongs in the classroom but only when it's used the right way. Blogging and online discussion groups are a great way to get students to think critically about how to communicate with fellow students in productive ways that can enhance learning, and it's one of our main goals at eNotes. While I think that Facebook in particular has some good technology that would enable that type of thing, the fact that it's so easy to do so many other, non-productive things while on the site might make it a poor choice for an in-classroom exercise.

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 23, 2008 at 5:18 AM (Answer #10)

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We are thinking of enabling blogs for all on eNotes, hoping that our safer, moderated environment would be more appropriate for classroom use as opposed to something that has so many other uses, like Facebook and MySpace. Is that something that you think teachers would appreciate?

Our position, as (mostly) non-educators is that technology definitely belongs in the classroom but only when it's used the right way. Blogging and online discussion groups are a great way to get students to think critically about how to communicate with fellow students in productive ways that can enhance learning, and it's one of our main goals at eNotes. While I think that Facebook in particular has some good technology that would enable that type of thing, the fact that it's so easy to do so many other, non-productive things while on the site might make it a poor choice for an in-classroom exercise.

Enotes would probably be an ideal site to establish classroom blogs, because students would then be able to hop over to reference materials that they can use in class. Other classroom blog sites are fairly limited to only blogging functions, and don't really have resources for classroom use (unless you personally link to them from your blog).

Students would be able to utilize a site such as this one much more productively than, say, a social network. Classroom blogs through enotes would definitely be an advantage, increasing both efficiency and engagement.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 25, 2008 at 6:36 PM (Answer #11)

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My district's firewall blocks all websites where students can email, blog, or post anything...Enotes, YouTube, Facebook, My Space, and all the free email sites are included.  Teachers are able to have these approved for their personal classroom computers, but students can not access these sites.

That having been said, I don't think Facebook and My Space would be helpful in the classroom.  I have perused these sites and have found too many things on personal pages that would prove embarrassing in a classroom situation. Call me conservative, but I don't think certain language, questionable photos, and other such informal socialization has a place in the classroom.

On the other hand, if the rules of formal language and behavior were observed, it could be a great place to have literature circles, book clubs, and study groups.  Perhaps outside of school this could prove to be an amazing resource for kids?

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted July 26, 2008 at 9:18 PM (Answer #12)

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Although I use many websites in my classroom, I do not support using My Space or Facebook in the classroom for several reasons many of which are mentioned already including the possibility of viewing inappropriate material and better alternatives that are available.  Further, I have had several kids in my classes whose parents forbid them from using the site.  We can't ask kids to use in class what is forbidden to them at home.  My school blocks both sites.

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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

Posted July 27, 2008 at 4:04 AM (Answer #13)

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My district's firewall blocks all websites where students can email, blog, or post anything...Enotes, YouTube, Facebook, My Space, and all the free email sites are included.  Teachers are able to have these approved for their personal classroom computers, but students can not access these sites.

That having been said, I don't think Facebook and My Space would be helpful in the classroom.  I have perused these sites and have found too many things on personal pages that would prove embarrassing in a classroom situation. Call me conservative, but I don't think certain language, questionable photos, and other such informal socialization has a place in the classroom.

On the other hand, if the rules of formal language and behavior were observed, it could be a great place to have literature circles, book clubs, and study groups.  Perhaps outside of school this could prove to be an amazing resource for kids?

if the rules of formal language and behavior were observed, it could be a great place to have literature circles, book clubs, and study groups.  Perhaps outside of school this could prove to be an amazing resource for kids?

This is one of the main goals of the eNotes.com community-- creating a safe space online where students and teachers can come together to enhance the learning experience!

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 27, 2008 at 6:00 AM (Answer #14)

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MySpace and Facebook -- OK for classes?

Perhaps this has already been addressed by others here, but I'm curious: Do you as a teacher feel that using MySpace and Facebook in the classroom is defensible by noting that both are "real world" technology and communication? Do you feel that because kids relate to it, it is more capable of producing engaged learners? Is any writing practice (including blogging and IMing) good practice? My feelings on this one are still up in the air a bit, as I am a big proponent of technology use in the classroom, but given the content of both sites, I see how they could be considered too controversial for classroom use. My current school feels that both are acceptable for the classroom, as long as the teacher is being judicious about what he or she is showing the children, and as long as the teacher is using common sense regarding curriculum. Your thoughts, please...

I can't imagine how these sites could be helpful to the education process.  The students in my classes are already way too involved in socializing on their cell phones and sidekicks.  It is sometimes impossible to get through an entire class period without reprimanding several students for playing with these devices instead of paying attention.

Due to the nature of these sites and the fact that some students have difficulty concentrating on academics, I believe it would cause a great distraction.  How many students do you really believe would be using these sites for school work?  Just because the kids are familiar with these sites, and they are on them so much, does not qualifiy them as helpful in the sense of technology in the classroom. 

The blogging and IMing that is going on is in a language that does not resemble English.  I constantly, constantly correct abbreviations on essays that are a direct result of IM writing.

More and more students don't know how to spell simple words! It is frightening how many high school students I have who can't spell! 

In my view, no teacher can control the use of Facebook and MySpace to the degree necessary to effectively teach a classroom of 24-30 students.   

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 27, 2008 at 3:34 PM (Answer #15)

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In Reply to #13:  I know!  I have tried repeatedly to get my school to approve the use of enotes on our school computers.  They have a strict policy against any site which allows students to post information or communicate through messaging of any kind.  I am just grateful that they allow me to use it on my computer, and I can project certain parts like the vocab workshops and the essay workshops onto my screen for teaching purposes.  You've got me as to why they won't unlock it!  :(  I am relieved that my kids are using this site from home, however. 

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 28, 2008 at 4:39 AM (Answer #16)

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I guess this post has more to do with management, but here's a little history:

I've worked at schools that were micromanaged as well as others that had NO management. At schools where they have proficient tech staff, normally MySpace and Facebook along with gaming sites, etc. are blocked. That's probably a good sign. People in charge are on the ball.

At some schools where little or no management is practiced, employees and students alike can easily go online, gamble, view inappropriate content, or carry out a whole world of other activities that are totally unrelated to education. And while students and staff alike might enjoy the liberation from technological restraints, on a psychological level, it's very discomforting to think that head honchos are unaware or apathetic about how school computers are used. 

I have to agree with some of our posters who feel that Facebook and MySpace in the classroom is a formula for disaster. On the other hand, using either site for further professional contact and assistance (talking with peers) can be beneficial to enhance students' learning environments. Of course, that's best done after classroom hours... One new teacher recently asked for great ideas for first-day icebreakers, for instance, and a lot of other teachers helped her out. There's a positive use for social networking in regards to classroom improvement.

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ianthe | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted July 29, 2008 at 3:32 AM (Answer #17)

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At the university where I teach, MySpace and Facebook are not blocked on the campus computer network, and the majority of our students use one or both.  In fact, a lot of faculty have begun using Facebook--including my department chair and me--as a way to have contact with students outside the classroom.  Our pages allow students to use a venue other than campus e-mail (which, BTW, seems to have down time quite a lot) to ask questions about assignments and homework.  The students seem to enjoy connecting with their favorite teachers on such a popular site.  However, there is no classroom value in either site, in my opinion, and neither would serve any purpose in enhancing the lessons and discussions we have during class time.  There is a time and a place for everything, a cliche rule of thumb that both my department chair and I agree upon.

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Michael Foster | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 19, 2008 at 6:26 AM (Answer #18)

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Both MySpace and Facebook are blocked on our school computers.  As for use in the classroom, there are other spots out there.  Many are designed for school use.

That being said, I know how addicted to Facebook my students are, so I do keep a Facebook page that only current students of the class my visit.  I keep copies of assignments on there, and they're pretty good about sticking to school-related topics.

But you're right--I don't feel entirely comfortable with it, since I see some potential for abuse, though I'm quick to block anyone who does so.  A blog spot on eNotes would be great (since eNotes can be linked from Facebook now....).

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slauritzen | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted October 28, 2008 at 2:13 PM (Answer #19)

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There is also a you-tube like video forum called teacher tube.  Teachers can access youtube from their logins, but not students.

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