The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Breaking News

Business & Technology

July 10, 2014

How professors are using Facebook to teach

WASHINGTON — Technology is an established part of the lives of students. But university lecturers are becoming increasingly frustrated at how they must compete with tablets and laptops for students' attention in the lecture hall. In the U.S., Dartmouth computer science professor Dan Rockmore has recently stoked debate in a "New Yorker" article arguing that laptops should be banned in the classroom.

Perhaps weary lecturers should be looking at the problem from a different angle and asking whether social networking sites such as Facebook can actually become a good place to teach. Or at least communicate with their students.

Some research has argued that Facebook and other social media networks have educational potential. Facebook can promote interaction between students and teachers - such as making announcements, discussions and sharing resources.

Other South African research investigating student use of Facebook and lecturer engagement with students via the platform found lecturers saw it as an easier and quicker way to contact students. Students, particularly shy ones, were more comfortable asking questions via Facebook and they also felt lecturers were more approachable after they had interacted with them via Facebook.

But teachers have to combat the fact that growing evidence suggests the value of Facebook in higher education does not yet relate to formal learning at all, but rather to students' quest for social networking.

Previous research has found that students prefer to keep Facebook for their personal lives rather than bringing it into the educational setting. They prefer to use Facebook for more informal learning (communication about course content and peer support) rather than formal learning.

Facebook can also be a useful tool to help students integrate into university life through meeting friends and providing a good network for support and sharing information about the course.

Research exploring Twitter in academia has also found it is a useful and viable learning tool. It can enhance active and informal learning through increased (24/7) communication and allow students to create and share ideas as well as foster collaboration outside and inside the classroom.

Stay connected

But students and teachers need to be aware that their online activity leaves a digital footprint and they need to be professional in the way they interact online. Reports have highlighted cases of people being sacked due to unprofessional behavior online.

My recent research has investigated the attitudes of university teachers to the use of Facebook in the classroom. I found they do not tend to use such tools in their teaching, but would like more guidelines about online professionalism and how to use Facebook for educational purposes.

Those teachers who do use Facebook in their teaching found more positives than negatives, suggesting it enhances communication between lecturer and student. Facebook was viewed as beneficial because it increased and enhanced the student experience through class discussions outside of the classroom.

But teachers are aware of the importance for both lecturer and student to be conscious of their digital footprint and adhere to professional standards online.

Using social media to teach is still a rarity. But there are many social media tools educators could utilize such as Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Deborah Abdel Nabi at the University of Bolton even successfully uses Second Life to enable students to learn the psychology of cyberspace.

There is also continuing interest in how to use "off-the-shelf" computer games to teach. Some schools have employed computer games in the classroom to teach a variety of subjects in creative ways.

More should be done to encourage and support the use of social media within teaching and learning. Increasing ways to engage students and encourage students to learn outside of the classroom environment is valuable to everyone. It's either that, or find that half the class is playing Candy Crush instead.

 

1
Text Only
Business & Technology
  • Earns United Continental [Duplicate] United Airlines posts 2Q profit, reversing 1Q loss CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines is making money after a slow start to the year.The airline’s net income in the second quarter hit $789 million, topping Wall Street expectations and marking a turnaround from the first quarter when United was the only m

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • GM profit 2Q falls 85% on recall costs DETROIT (AP) — Recall expenses chopped $1.5 billion from General Motors’ bottom line in the second quarter, as it added up the costs of repairs for nearly 30 million cars and set aside funds to compensate victims of small-car crashes.The automaker, w

    July 25, 2014

  • Taiwan plane crash photo Air travel a leap of faith for passengers WASHINGTON (AP) — Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.Even after a week of multiple tragedies in worldwide aviation, “There

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Technology plays key part in battling police brutality (with VIDEO)

    Allegations of police brutality are nothing new -- as long as there has been law enforcement, citizens have registered claims that some officers cross the line. But in the last few years, the claims of excessive force are being corroborated with new technology from cell phone cameras, police dash-cams and surveillance videos. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • Has the iPad lost its swag?

    The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year.

    CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stewart McCaskill photo McCaskill settles into new role at shoe store CLINTON — An Oklahoma boy at heart, Stewart McCaskill is settling into Clinton and Brown’s Shoe Fit.The 35-year-old has worked with the Brown’s Shoe Fit company for seven years. His brother-in-law, who manages a Brown’s in Colorado, brought Stewart i

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Earns Mcdonalds [Duplicate] McDonald's profit slips; U.S. sales decline OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) — McDonald’s Corp. said its profit slipped in the second quarter as sales in the U.S. continued to flag.The world’s biggest hamburger chain has been struggling to boost sales in its flagship market amid intensifying competition,

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SEC poised to end $1 a share for some money funds WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators are expected to vote Wednesday to end a longtime staple of the investment industry — the fixed $1 share price for money-market mutual funds — at least for some money funds used by big investors.The idea is to minimize the

    July 23, 2014

  • China McDonald's KFC [Duplicate] China meat scandal hits Starbucks, Burger King BEIJING — A suspect meat scandal in China engulfed Starbucks and Burger King today and spread to Japan where McDonald’s said the Chinese supplier accused of selling expired beef and chicken had provided 20 percent of the meat in its chicken nuggets.C

    July 22, 2014 5 Photos

Facebook