During our various discussions in this week before our Summer quarter classes start, I found our conversations coming back to what we, as faculty, allow in the classroom and what we don't. We had a variety of opinions about allowing students to use social media while the class progresses.
I thought about an experience I had in a California church on Christmas Eve a few years ago. We were encouraged to take pictures and to post them on Facebook, to tweet, to spread the Good News via social media--and the church had free Wi-Fi to make it easier.
I have since been in many churches who have adopted this practice, and I think it's brilliant. After all, most churches can barely afford a minimal staff, much less a PR person or a social media strategist. So that task is outsourced to the congregation--which might result in the congregation being more involved too.
I wonder if we could do the same things in our classrooms. I realize that we might not want to be Facebook friends with our students. But I like the theory of being able to check on Facebook posts to be able to see what the students take away from our classes. I like the idea of curating a class in this way, of preserving what we talk about, of making a record.
I'm wondering about a closed group on Facebook--would that solve some of the social media problems that would come with Facebooking a classroom? It would protect the privacy of the class. I'm not sure that it would adequately protect the privacy of all the individuals.
I know that we can do something similar with blogs or other types of media. I know that not everyone likes Facebook or Twitter. I know that students are likely on some social media sites that I am so out of touch that I don't even know what they are. I know all the ways that it wouldn't work.
But I'd like to explore the ways that it might work . . .