Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world today. Found in the year 2004, its capabilities associated with the technological innovations are enormous. Its creators have continually found away to develop it further to meet the demands of various user and advance with technological changes in the same measure.
The opportunities than can be exploited in Facebook are vast. It is designed to cater for such basic like chat, messaging and inbox, wall applications, networks, groups and like pages. All these application can be supported through its multilingual capabilities. Users have the option of choosing among the several major languages they feel comfortable with.
The business community and the social system have enjoyed and advanced their businesses through advertisement by Facebook. The market place feature allows users to post classified advertisement in the categories of their choices. The Facebook deals offer coupons and discounts on selected stores. A video streaming site called Facebook live enables its users to keep abreast with what is happening in the social network. Actors, musicians and comedians have promoted their works this way. The news feed enable users to show and reflect information regarding their changes in profile, upcoming events, and birthdays, among other updates. The notification features allow users who are online to show the pop-ups and respond to messages immediately. When a user is notified there is a poke feature to attract the attention of other online users.
The status update enables users to update their profile while the wall capabilities enable friend to post and leave temporal messages. These massages are visible to all users who are connected while inbox is reserved for more private messages.
Having experienced the success of Facebook and how it has changed the way people relate and conduct their businesses and social, the author of this paper proposes that teachers at the college should create Facebook Groups to facilitate learning, and sharing of ideas. It is now time for Facebook to serve the academic community. Facebook Groups are designed for information sharing. All the members of the group have access and control. They can engage in back-and-forth communication with everyone in the group at the same time.
Facebook lets users of different networks and groups to join. Groups have emerged has the most effective and commanding a huge followers on Facebook. They can be used to discuss events e.g. football match, baseball, new movie release etc.
Groups allow a number of persons to come together online and share ideas, discuss specific issues, subjects and information. This is where the concept of using Facebook group among teachers emanates.
Different individuals, organizations, clubs, companies and even state owned bodies are using Facebook to engage with their members and stakeholders. These stakeholders can range from internal employees to services providers, and customers, among others. In this respect, it is obvious that only institutions of learning are not using this social media to promote learning.
Facebook group may include people who have joined, contents, photos, videos and members comments. The group has the ability to carry more features and can carry up to three hundred members.
In this context, the idea of “Like Pages” allows companies or individuals to join the fan club and promote their ideas and businesses. The owners of these “Like Pages” can post messages to their fans and share ideas. They also have the analytical and insights on their fans. The individuals with their own profile can acquire up to five thousand friends. Its special features can have additional functional features such as e-mail addresses, specialized contents e.g. students assignments, lecture notes etc. The names of the individuals are also contained (Facebook, 2010).
Based on the benefits of Facebook enjoyed by other users and groups, the author proposes that it is high time the college community also start using this powerful social and interaction technological breakthrough. The benefits would be experienced by both the students and teachers, among other stakeholders in the learning environment.
Thestudents are set to be the biggest beneficiaries of this proposed Facebook Group, yet to be created. It is believed that the change in learning environment will not be underestimated. The students will a friendly well known atmosphere to brainstorm topics, ask questions about the class, edit each others' papers, make comments on class notes and contribute towards learning activities. In fact this will make learning to be more of learner-centered than the teachers.
Students who cannot express themselves before the class can post their contributions on the group wall. The opportunities to master the content of the subject in this regard cannot be underestimated. People tend to remember others’ comment more often, especially when written. This could be a very rich source to generate ideas and critiques of the study topic.
The teachers too are not left out. The posting of learning materials and other resources would be made easier. The teacher can reach the entire class through this method. Cases of late submission of course work, notes, assignment and feedback from students can be tremendously reduced.
The ease of accessibility from anywhere to any student or teacher connected to the internet makes this a brilliant idea for the college community to join and exploit this technological innovation.
Social interaction and connectedness of the entire class or the whole college through Facebook Group will enhance the interaction among the students, teachers and other support staffs. The sense of belonging to a group will enhance students responsibilities and working towards achieving a common goal; academic excellence.
The capability to have many smaller networks of people is also possible within the Facebook Group. In this regard, teachers, students of different subjects, administration can have their small network group within the larger group. Whatever is shared among the smaller groups will not show up to other groups.
The author of this proposal is willing to have a session to show the students as well as teachers on how to create the actual Facebook Group with all the relevant fields needed to make their learning enjoyed experience.
Apart from just sending messages, the group will exploit several features to advance their learning. The teacher, administration or students can use Facebook Group to send bulk e-mail messages to all the stakeholders. These can be in form of reminders, announce events, organize school trips, parties’ etc. Member can also interact without actual logging into Facebook with their identities; they can use the group e-mail address to do so.
Facebook has a feature known as “Docs” that the group members can use to create their works, assignments, edit and make comments using text documents. The most interesting feature is that every single log and edit made to the document is stored. This is a feature similar to wiki.
Every technological innovation brings along its issues and challenges. These challenges could be associated with obtaining, using and manipulating information. The most obvious with the Facebook is privacy issues and proneness to abuse. The first may not be a problem since the members share a common goal while the latter could pose to be a real challenge.
Privacy, property, and accessibility are definitely issues in the Facebook-Beacon controversy (PC World, 2010). The college will need to examine their code of ethics and enforce them strictly. Use of information that can directly compromise the college fraternity must be clearly discouraged and punished as deem fit.
Appropriate information use, privacy of the group members, security of data and information provided must be guarded. At the same data and information accuracy, quality of the data and copy right laws need to be observed. The issue of health and safety of the group should also not be ignored. Facebook use is associated with cyber bullying and peer pressure.
Taking all these into consideration, the author looks forward to a Facebook aided learning by adoption of this proposal by all the college community.