Using Facebook in the classroom Recent blog posts

Using Facebook in the classroom

Using Facebook in the classroom

Recently, numerous players in the Blended Learning environment have made strong statements in favour of using Facebook in the classroom as a teaching and learning tool. One speaker went as far as to say that Facebook, according to him, is the best Learning Management System (LMS) out there.

Considering all the commercial and open source LMSs (at NMMU – Moodle, SharePoint) out there, this is indeed quite a big statement. Let’s have a look at why and how Facebook can be used in the classroom.


First of all, almost every single mobile device comes with an application to access Facebook. This means that ICT as well as teachers and learners do not have to worry about how the devices will access Facebook. Furthermore, the device specific applications are pretty intuitive and added to the fact that most people use Facebook in any case, there is no learning/teaching required on how to use it. So what we have is the application to access Facebook, as well as users already knowing how to use it. This indeed makes it a very inviting option.


So you might be concerned about being “friends” with your students in order to share information. Likewise, students might not necessarily be keen on sharing pictures from the last party with their lecturer! Although this is an option (being friends), the more logical thing to do would be to create a separate page for the module you are working on. Students can then like the page and interact on it without sharing personal information (depending of their own privacy settings). If you take a look at the NMMU Blended Learning team’s site for example, you will get an idea of how you can collaborate around a specific topic using Facebook. Page access can be controlled through groups if you do not want to share your information with the whole world.


So what can you do on Facebook? Well the short answer is, a lot! You can upload videos of your lectures. This is especially useful to students as they can watch it as many times as needed in their own time. Often the learner’s home language is different to the one the lecture is offered in. Having access to the lecture and being able to review it, pause it, get clarity on certain words/concepts can only assist them greatly. Also, posting lectures to Facebook can be useful in the “flipped classroom” environment. The lecturer can upload the presentation and request, on Facebook, that the students view it before the next contact session. The contact session can then be spent on helping and asking questions about the work.


One can share links to relevant sites. If you find something on the web that you think might be useful, share it to your Facebook page and everybody can review the content. You can post polls. Quickly get feedback or post a question to the group. You can post pictures, have discussions or status updates (Class has been cancelled! Or Don’t forget that assignments are due tomorrow!) . Documents can be stored in the public areas of sites like Skydrive and Dropbox. The links to these documents can then simply be shared on Facebook. More sensitive information can still be stored in SharePoint if you so wish and the link to them shared on Facebook. Once the user hits the SharePoint site, NMMU Active Directory authentication will step in and ensure only authenticated access to the document.


There are a great number of possibilities using Facebook and it is indeed powerful. This page will provide you with more information and help on setting up pages, groups etc.


There might be concerns about the use of social media in the classroom. This article presents the case for social media in the classroom.


To close off with, a Facebook page requires to be “kept alive”. One has to regularly post updates, share information, reply to questions, messages etc. Keep it fresh!

Posted by Shaun Meyer on 21 May 2012 10:39:13

Current rating: 1 (1 ratings)

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Zinzi Soyizwapi
Great work buddy
13/06/2012 16:43:15
Trevor Ryan
It is a great idea.
I already opened facebook pages for learners in my classes to have discussions on, share solutions to problems, post notes and videos,etc. Works quite well for those who use it. Good as an extra resource that students can use any time of day and any time of year.
07/06/2012 17:53:13
Nice article Shaun!
29/05/2012 09:47:45

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