Saturday, August 6, 2011

Can Facebook help your school...?

Chris Wejr (@mrwejr) recently wrote a great post on why "your school needs a Facebook page." As I reflect upon his post, as well as the newly created Facebook page for my junior high school, I wanted to add a few comments to the discussion...
Some of the advantages:

- The "school image" is hurting; we need to take school public relations to the next level
- Most parents, teachers and students are familiar with & comfortable using Facebook
- 750 million people are on Facebook; there is no faster way to connect with your community
- News about your school or district can be far reaching, relevant & timely
- You can take an active role in controlling the image of your school or district
- It will give parents, students and community members something to talk about
- Individual teachers can share some of the awesome things going on in their classes
- Information & online discussions can be controlled & monitored
- It's an opportunity to bring social media into the educational setting

Some things to be aware of:

- Your building principal, superintendent, or school board might not be comfortable using Facebook in an educational setting (here is the letter I sent to my superintendent)
- Somebody will have to manage the page and be responsible for doing frequent updates
- New laws are being developed that impede the growth of social media in schools
- It is only a matter of time before there is an inappropriate comment or personal attack
- If updates are not done frequently, you will cause more harm than good
- It needs to be clear what the expectations for the page are
- You can't give up & shut the Facebook page down the first time there is a complaint or inappropriate usage

If your building or district uses a Facebook page please leave a comment with the link. It would be great to compile a list of schools that use Facebook as examples to show others who have not yet taken the leap. Additionally, what other advantages or disadvantages do you see when using Facebook in an educational setting?