10 Ways Facebook Strengthens the Student - Teacher Connection by Lisa Nielsen
10/21/2011 1:18:16 PM
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our data driven world of education today, we often forget that behind
all that data real students whose hopes, dreams and desires are often
left behind or unnoticed. Don’t be fooled by the data that points to success by numbers
rather than faces. When you scratch past the numbers, you’ll find
many real kids who know these tests have been politicized and that what
is most important is their connection with adults who care about them.
This was evident during my recent trip to Educon where I had the
pleasure of attending a panel featuring students who shared the
importance of, “teachers relating to them as people, not just students”
For them this helped develop a deep level of trust with their teachers
who they knew really cared about them deeply and were looking out for
their best interests.
students told stories of running a marathon with their teachers,
others shared how great it felt for them that their teacher who coached
them in a sport or activity saw them shine in a particular area of
their life. The students also explained how the use of Facebook has
help strengthen their connections with teachers and their principal.
They also shared, that, they don’t “expect” their teachers to be
friends with them on Facebook, but appreciate it when they do. Below
are ways that they, their teachers, their principal and others have
have found Facebook to be an effective tool in strengthening the
educator / student bond.
Both his note and status updates were met with plenty of comments from spirited students and educators.
are more and more educators and students like those at the Science
Leadership Academy who are harnessing the power of social media to
connect more deeply with students. Unfortunately for some it’s an
uphill battle, but one they plan to fight none-the-less in today’s 21st
century world, we know life doesn’t just happen face-2-face.
your thoughts: Librarian Michele Luhtala is one such teacher who does a
good job of capturing the sentiment of students where Facebook is
blocked in her post 'Tud-ish but true.http://bit.ly/yfilter and teachers can visit http://tinyurl.com/yfilter .
- Reaching out to a student in need Students
shared that sometimes it’s hard for them to approach a teacher or even
really reach out for help face-to-face. Sharing a disappointment on
Facebook can be easier. Students shared how touched they were by
encouraging words from a teacher either on their page, or as a
face-to-face follow up.
- Getting a peak into the lives of students Facebook
provides a window into the worlds of students. A look at a student’s
Facebook page might explain a little something about how or why a
student may have reacted to something on a particular day. As one
student said, “We are people, not just students. Facebook is a great
reminder of that.”
- The family connection
at the Science Leadership Academy explained the great importance of
their peers and staff as family. Facebook is a terrific way to share
and keep up with family. They appreciate having that opportunity.
- Instant learning and homework support A
student might notice a teacher online and use the pop up chat to ask
if they mind giving advice about a topic they were studying. If their
teachers (or principal) is available s/he can offer support. Luna, a
student at SLA explained it this way, “We can still get teachers to
help us while we’re at home doing our homework instead of having to
wait until the next day. Teachers feel a lot more accessible and also
- Snow Day - Update!!!Not
sure if school will be open or closed on a snow day? Check it out on
your teacher and/or Principal's page on Facebook. You’ll find the
answer and a whole lotta comments.
- Facebook lets teachers create a no excuses environment This
came directly from a student who shared that she liked that Facebook
kept all students accountable. When you’re friends with your teachers
and students on Facebook, you generally best really be sick on a sick
day, or you’ll be outed. Furthermore, students like the idea that if
you get stuck with school work you can always post it on your Facebook
wall and tag some friends and teachers who will be able to chime in
- Snow days and sick days don’t hold you back
because students are home doesn’t mean they can’t participate. During
a recent snow event teachers and students connected on Facebook about
assignments and assessments, barely missing a beat. For a student who
is sick, she can post that on Facebook, tag key people, and get filled
in on what she missed in real time.
- Using facebook teaches you how to deal the the world and the way it works Students
like the fact that adults are connecting with them using real-world
tools that they’ll need to know how to use effectively to be
successful. At the writing of the article, Egypt’s Facebook revolt
was taking place. Kids are keenly aware of the power of social media
and want to be empowered and trusted to operate in such environments.
They feel neither a school or government should ban them from using
powerful tools to communicate and connect.
- Facebook as a Learning Portal More
and more students are using Facebook for learning and not just to talk
to others about what they’re working on. One Science Leadership
Academy student shared that for physics a group of her peers created a
Facebook page about motion. They created it as a learning portal that
contained, definitions, photos, videos, articles and discussions. Not
only was this a learning portal for these students, but it remains on
Facebook as a learning tool for others studying the topic.
- Mobilize in an instant When
Science Leadership Academy students found out that a snow day was
declared on the first day of their Educon conference for educators,
they jumped into action on Facebook where their principal shared a note
as well as words of encouragement to all students. The principal
shared this status up date at 10:45
Chris Lehmann There's
going to be a horde of kids at SLA tomorrow. This is EduCon, and this
is *their* school, and a little snow isn't going to stop them.
Cross posted at The Innovative Educator.
Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog and Transforming Education for the 21st Century
learning network. International Edublogger, International EduTwitter,
and Google Certified Teacher, Lisa is an outspoken and passionate
advocate of innovative education. She is frequently covered by local and
national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and
determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and
providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms.
Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping
schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare
students for 21st century success. You can follow her on Twitter
Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.
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