Using Facebook to your advantage


Teachers and parents, do you have students who don’t turn in their homework? Who lose track of assignments and due dates, or say they are unaware of them? Who don’t pay attention to test dates?

To address this, some schools hand out planners to students. Others use learning community management systems where students and parents can look up assignments and grades. Terrific ideas, but the problem lingers on. Why?

The answer lies in Internet usage habits. It’s all about “location, location, location.” If information is placed where people regularly go, they will see it.

facebookEnter Facebook, the tsunami of social media. A 2013 Pew Research study reported that 71 percent of online adults use Facebook, and a 2011 survey showed that 96 percent of high school student use Facebook — 94 percent even checked their Facebook account while in class!


Yes, Facebook can seem like a vortex which sucks in its users. (See Time article, “Kids Who Use Facebook Do Worse in School,” Aug. 8, 2011.) But the reality is that whether we like it or not, most kids use Facebook. This is actually a tremendous gift. Put the assignments on Facebook and kids will be reminded to do their homework every time they check their Facebook posts.You can also use Facebook to create a place for class discussion which can be accessed at any time.

No need to be Facebook friends

If being Facebook friends with students isn’t an option, teachers can still reach them through a Facebook fan page. Here’s how.

  1. Become a member of Facebook, or sign into your personal account if you have one. You can sign up for free at When signing up, if you don’t want to provide friend names, profile info or interests, just click on “Skip this step” to continue.
  2. Create a fan page. On the left column of your home page, click
    “PAGES” and when prompted, click the “+Create a Page” button. Click the “Cause or Community” square, then follow the prompts. When naming your group, be sure to make it unique and easily identifiable, such as “Mrs. R’s Homework Page.” Don’t call it by just your school name.
  3. Tell students to “Like” your page. Students who do will see your posts and will be able to write on your page and send you messages. If desired, use the “Invite Email Contacts” link in the Page Tips panel.
  4. Use the page. To get to your page, click on its link under your profile name on your home page. In the “Write something” field you can post assignments, photos or videos, and also enter test dates using the “Event” link.

Some teachers do prefer using Facebook groups, citing them as giving students more ownership and group privacy. Groups require ‘friend’ing students, but teachers can maintain professional distance through privacy settings. For more information, google “creating a Facebook group for a class.”


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