Facebook is the place that kids hang out after school. Heck, it’s the place many of them hang out during school. It is definitely a platform they are comfortable with communicating on. Why not use student enthusiasm for Facebook to generate learning opportunities in the classroom?
I have seen several classes in the past few weeks work on Facebook projects. Students love them. These projects appeal to students because it is communication at their level. What I like about the project is that creating a fake Facebook profile requires a great deal of higher level thinking. Student have to take information and transform it. This forces students to be very creative. A fake Facebook page is an excellent way to see if student understand the concept behind a book, character, historical figure or even a science concept.
Science might be a little harder, but imagine students pretend that they are a part of a chemical reaction. They could create a profile for a certain compound and tell it’s part in the reaction through the wall posts. This might sound a bit crazy, but I think students would really get into it.
There are several different platforms for doing Facebook projects in the classroom. Here are some I have looked at in the past week:
Fakebook: This online app is the best I have seen. It is web based and easy to use. Students fill in the blanks, upload pictures and write status updates for the different people on the wall. I have not yet used this app with students, but I plan on using it this week. Sometimes, when a bunch of students use an app like this, we see how good it really works. I’ll be sure to let you know.
My Fake Wall (no longer functional) This is a cool template, much like Fakebook. I really like how it is set up. The app is web based and allows students to build as big a page as they like. The one draw back is that it doesn’t seem to work consistently. I have used this with several classes now, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t which creates quite the headache if this is the plan for class on a particular day. That having been said, it is still worth a try because it is so much fun.
PowerPoint template: This page template opens in PowerPoint, but functions surprisingly as a Facebook page. Adding pictures and status text is quite easy without creating a mess of the page. This is a three page template giving students quite a bit of creative license in a non-web based platform.
MS Word template: This template is a little harder to use and doesn’t look quite as good as the others, but it is another option. It does work in Word which is a plus if that is what students are used to using.
Classroom in the Cloud Facebook Project: This blog post has instructions, templates and rubrics for a Facebook project using a template created with Photoshop. This looks like another great option depending on your goals for the project.
If anyone knows of other fake Facebook applications or ideas for using these templates, leave a link in the comments.
March 2, 2012 update: See the blog post 2 more ways to make fake Facebook pages for additional links and resources.