doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

What Does Facebook for PD Mean?

This topic may be a little more difficult to sell.

First, not all boards are like the Waterloo board and have Facebook unblocked for access at school.  That’s a shame because this is a powerful learning environment.

Secondly, for all its power, the social media news is full of stories of things gone wrong.  But, you’re a sophisticated learner; you’d never do them!

I think I started with Facebook like most people.  My kids were connected there and complained that I didn’t share photos that I had taken quickly enough. Daaaaad.  They did make sense; after all Facebook is the world’s most popular photo sharing service.  Their recent purchase of Instagram only serves to add to the numbers.  So, I joined thinking that this would appease them.  What it turned to instead was another powerful learning place for me.

For the new user, it can be intimidating.  There’s a timeline, news ticker, groups, stories, pictures, jokes, recommendations, pokes, and advertising.  I find it amazing how quickly I was able to block out the things I’m not interested in and to focus on the good stuff.  Two other things are paramount for using this service – how to turn off noisy applications and how to control your privacy.  Details, to be sure, but well worth the read as you get started.

The other thing that I noticed quickly was that many of the people that I had valued learning with on Twitter had moved to Facebook.  Over a coffee once, I learned that a good friend of mine made the decision in the efforts of time.  She just wanted one place to go to learn and to do social things.  She missed me.  (at least that’s what she said)

So, I wondered…is there a way to share the great things that I share on Twitter on Facebook?  Without too much effort?  I’m all about automation.  Doing a little discovery, I found a myriad of ways.  Two stood out – there’s a way to share Facebook posts on Twitter or a way to share Twitter posts to Facebook.  I opted for the latter.  The same premise works for Facebook as it does for Twitter.  As I noted yesterday, you need to work at it.  Learning should never be a passive activity.  If you’re sharing something you’ve created or learned in one place, why not both?

Similar to Twitter, the more people in your learning environment, the more powerful it can be.

But, Facebook offers another level of learning.  It comes in the form of groups.  Add this to the regular conversations and you’ve got some great potential learning areas.  Currently, I’m subscribed to the following:  (you’ll need to have a Facebook account and be logged in to follow these links…)

Good stuff.  If you’ve ever used online forums before, you’ll adapt to the concepts very easily.  The only problem is that you’ll want to know what else is available and that can always be a challenge.  However, a public post requesting information is bound to lead to suggestions from others.  There’s so much that’s available.

Facebook offers a nice blend of personal and professional opportunities.  It’s important to remember just what you’re doing and who your audience is or could be.  The personal could go on forever and isn’t the goal of this post.  It’s the professional aspect that’s so valuable and what makes it worth the time to learn.

Perhaps there will come a time when the paranoia will subside and we realize that students and teachers are already in this environment and it’s time to turn on the educational potential universally.

Concerned about privacy? – check out this document from Angela Alcorn.


4 responses to “What Does Facebook for PD Mean?”

  1. […] What Does Facebook for PD Mean? ( […]


  2. […] What Does Facebook for PD Mean? ( […]


  3. I’m on board… to ignore and not use FB, particularly when twitter and other social media is used in the teaching and learning environment, is a disservice. We need to do it wisely, but we need to do it.


  4. Thank you for the comment, Julia. I listed a number of the groups that I belong to in the posting but that’s just a tip of the iceberg. Web resources are so powerful and offer so much, so reliably that it’s difficult to believe that they’re not available to teachers and students.


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