Educators are now turning to Web2.0 tools, drawing upon their ability toassist in creating, collaborating onand sharing content. At present, littleempirical research has beenconducted on the value of Web 2.0 ineducation (Crook & Harrison, 2008).
While technological differencesabound, social network sites are “web-based services that allow individuals to(1) construct a public or semi-publicprofile within a bounded system, (2)articulate a list of other users with whomthey share a connection, and (3) viewand traverse their list of connections andthose made by others within the system”(Boyd & Ellison, 2008, p. 211).
1.Facebook is equipped with bulletinboards, instant messaging, email, and theability to post videos and pictures. Mostnotably, anyone can post information andcollaborate within the system. Recently,Facebook has opened up development ofdownloadable applications, which can furthersupplement the educational functions ofFacebook.
2.Beyond high usage rates and sometechnological advantages, social networks,such as Facebook, can provide numerousother pedagogical advantages to bothteachers and students. 3.Facebook provides instructorsopportunities and structures by whichstudents can help and support one another bybuilding their courses atop the communityalready established by the studentsthemselves.
4.Facebook also increases both teacher-student and student-student interaction in theform of web-based communication. Facebookhelps instructors connect with their studentsabout assignments, upcoming events, usefullinks, and samples of work outside of theclassroom. Students can use Facebook tocontact classmates about questions regardingclass assignments or examinations as well ascollaborate on assignments and groupprojects in an online environment.
Instruction in using Facebook shouldbe an integral part of teacher educationprograms, particularly with so manydifferent types of social networksemerging. As Voithofer (2007) notes,instructing teacher education students onsocial networks encourages them toconsider
1) The technical and pedagogicalcharacteristics of educational technology.2) The social aspects of educationaltechnology.3) How to think about emergingtechnologies in relation to teaching .
The following list provides an overviewof the different ways that Facebook can beintegrated into a course. 1)Profile Page 2) Creating a Group Page for a Class 3) Replacing/Duplicating webcourse functions on Facebook 4) Integration of Facebook Applications
1)An instructor should create an additionalFacebook profile for professional use only. 2)Instructors must inform students that theyhave a Facebook profile. 3)Instructors should create an icebreakeractivity on Facebook. 4) Instructors post podcosts, websites, andvideos on Facebook as a course tool.
Facebook’s networking and socialcommunication capabilities canbenefit both the instructor and thestudent by tapping into a greaternumber of learning styles, providingan alternative to the traditional lectureformat, creating an online classroomcommunity, and increasing teacher-student and student-studentinteraction.