Most of you that have seen or read my blog post about social media know I am all for it being used inside and outside of the classroom. I have experimented with my classes this year using Facebook and twitter as my tools of choice. As I planed out my move to use Facebook it was with caution especially with the legislation going on in Missouri about social media and teachers. I pondered how I could reach my students on Facebook but still be professional. My first thought was to create a fan page of myself, in which my wife discussed with me it, could come off being arrogant creating a page for myself. Plus this page wasn’t for me it was for my students. I did however finish with a fan page, one of “Mr. Dunn’s Class”. I was very excited to tell my students about my Facebook page that I had created but I didn’t at first. I did tell my colleagues about it and they seemed to enjoy the idea and wanted me to keep them informed as the year would go on. I kept my page a secret from my students for the first couple of weeks teaching as I always had, and using the first test a s a gauge on how I could incorporate the page. It was no big surprise when my students didn’t perform very well. Like years in the past they have told me I didn’t know about the test and all the other things a teacher hears as an excuse. So the next day I polled my students to see how many had a Facebook account, not to my surprise 98% of my students had one. I thought to my self: “this is perfect.” So i introduced them to my page and to “like” it. I told them I would have class updates and so on on the page. After the first night I had about 28 of my 150 students to “like” me. All of them coming to me and saying they remembered their folder, and thought it was really cool that I would post things for them. By the next couple of days I had almost 50 of my students who “liked” the page. All along I would post little updates to see if they would notice or remember. After about a week we were ready for our next test. The night before I posted some random facts about what we had gone over and asked them some questions as well, you know just your basic review type questions. I was fairly astonished at the results of the test the next day. Although I only had a couple of perfect scores, as a whole but my classes performed better than the last test. I spoke with some of my students who “liked” the page to see what their thoughts were about it. Most of the responses were the same. Because they are on Facebook so much seeing my posts were a reminder they had a test and needed to study for it. It also gave my students and opportunity to reflect on what we had learned. Since then I have used this method for pre-tests and I have noticed that I have had steady test scores from my students. The conclusion of my study is that Facebook can help your students to remember if something is due the next day. It also can be used as a good tool for assessment. Especially if you are to ask questions to your students out side the classroom and it will keep then engaged while they are at home.
As most of you are aware Steve Jobs the founder of Apple has passed away from his battle with cancer. I am proud of the accomplishments of Steve and the Apple corporation. If it were not for him we would not have the personal computer, and we certainly wouldn’t have one in our classrooms either. This man was an innovator and an icon in the technology industry. He helped us to think outside the box. He took us to new levels with the iPod, then the iPhone, and now most recently the iPad. Without these innovations our classrooms would look like they did 30 years ago. Without these our students would not be captivated and in awe when we as teachers showed them new things. Steve thank you for all you did, I hope that the company you founded will continue it’s success without you. We have truly lost one of the most important people of our time.