Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world. The site is rarely out of the news these days, and is often presented in a negative light. It has even starred in a movie.
But by virtue of its sheer scale, it’s a powerful tool for connecting people, including connecting professional communities of interest.
The Victorian PLN community has a Facebook group that you can join. This will allow you to communicate with current participants and past graduates of the Victorian PLN program. It also means you can get the hang of using Facebook as part of your PLN in a safe space – nobody can see you there but us.
How to join Facebook
Many of you may already have a Facebook account. If you’re comfortable using this account to connect with peers and colleagues, feel free to use your existing account. If not, you might like to set up a different, professional account so you don’t get your personal and professional contacts, photos and comments mixed up. (That’s what we all do, which is why we all seem to have the same surname: SLV.)
Having a separate account and profile for your professional online network is one important way to protect your own privacy.
If you are not already a member of Facebook, sign-up is simple. Go to facebook.com and follow the steps to create an account.
Privacy settings are among the most controversial issues with Facebook. The site only has access to as much personal information as you provide. Leave blank any field that you don’t want to fill in.
Make certain you set all of your filters to a level you are comfortable with. Send personal requests to friends to not tag you in photographs or identify you in other ways if you aren’t comfortable with this.
These guides cover the most important settings, and are updated if settings change:
When you’re happy with your settings, join our VicPLN group on Facebook. It’s a closed group, so you will ask to join and we’ll approve you. That way, we can make sure it’s a relatively secure space.
In the group, you’ll find other participants from this course, and also past participants who still use it as a place to ask questions and share resources.
How to use Facebook
Your Facebook home page is a stream of news updates from people and organisations that you select. But Facebook is not just a great big list of individuals. It also consists of networks, groups and pages.
You can join groups (just like the VicPLN group), and you can “like” pages – many schools and libraries have Facebook pages, for example. There are groups or pages for history teachers, specialist ICT issues, educational resources, and a huge array of interest areas.
Here are just a few we like (some of these are actually ours):
- Bright Ideas
- Centre for Youth Literature (SLV)
- Australian Teacher Librarian Network
- Apps for Education
You can invite people to events, and you can connect with “friends”: all the news they post will then update the news on your Facebook home page.
You can comment on other people’s posts, and you can share interesting links, news, photos or videos.
For now, we’d like you to explore a little, check out the security and privacy options under Account settings, locate the VicPLN group and join it, and find a few pages to “Like”.
You don’t have to “Friend” anyone if you don’t want to, but to understand how the News feed can work as an information source, you’ll need to Like a few pages and or join a few groups (you can always leave or Unlike them later).
We’ll have some discussion in the VicPLN Facebook group this week, to show you how it works. If you find any great Facebook education pages or groups, let us know by sharing it in the VicPLN Facebook group.
For help or troubleshooting, visit the Facebook help centre or post us a question in Edmodo or the VicPLN Facebook group.
Facebook in schools
In this now-legendary blog post, Will Richardson issued a call to arms on the dangers of not teaching students about Facebook. What are your views? Does your school or region reflect this?
Here are a few ideas from David Harstein on using Facebook in school.
We’re using Edmodo as our online classroom, but you will have noticed it’s designed to look a lot like Facebook, and operates in a similar but secure way – it’s social media specifically for schools.
Think about these issues when you write your blog post. Post a few thoughts on the issues involved with using Facebook: can you imagine any other ways of using Facebook in your school? What about Edmodo?
And that, team, is the final task in this unit.
But now you have two choices:
If you have time to explore a further option, go to the extension task – Exploring Google+
Or, you can return to the Unit 3 overview for your reflection questions to help structure your blog post. Post your answers (and other reflections on the unit) on your blog, then post the link as your assignment via the calendar in Edmodo.