Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook as a Multifunctional Online Tool for Collaborative and Engaged Learning in GP

This was a concurrent session that I was very keen to attend as the nature of GP lessons, in terms of content and skills, are pretty similar to that of the Humanities.

The presenter, Daniel Yip, shared on the following features of FB as a teaching tool as follow:

1) Wall Messages and Discussion Board

· for updates on new assignments

· as a forum to consider different perspectives and to take a stand

· students respond to articles, quotations, videos etc. posted by the teacher

· teacher can provide relevant and useful links

· students can critique each other’s posts and contributions

· post questions online to the teacher (e.g. essay outlines, rebuttal structures)

2) Chat function

3) FB applications

· Quiz Creator

· Games

· SlideShare (Ppt, PDF documents) – can be linked to Blogger, Twitter and Delicious etc.

He also mentioned the advantages as well as demerits of using FB as a teaching tool.

Advantages:

1) it is indeed real world connection where you interact and collaborate with people you do know, as compared to other programs which leverage on connections in the virtual world (e.g. Second Life).

2) it caters to the profile and interests of our students today – they are tech-savy and are into online social networking.

3) FB has 250 million users currently, and so there is really a vast potential pool of users whom we can collaborate with in our teaching and learning activities.

Disadvantages (some are posed as questions, open for discussion):

1) the use of informal language may potentially affect students’ ability to code-switch in formal settings subsequently.

2) what will be students’ definition of ‘friends’ over time?

3) possibilities for flaming

4) privacy issues

5) too much time spent online in the ‘3rd home’ after the real home and school

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