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Posts tagged ‘facebook template’

FakeBook – The next step in Facebook templates

Facebook was once the small, sheltered territory of a couple of techie college students and some high school kids who found ways to sneak past the filter. At the time, it was all about Friendster and MySpace.

And now?

Parents, middle school kids, corporations, advertisers are all over Facebook. Even teachers are using it.

A couple of years ago, I published a quick post about using Facebook as a teaching tool with a Lincoln profile as an example. A tip on how to create an Eisenhower Facebook template followed and we followed that with more ideas on how to use a variety of Facebook and Twitter online tools in the classroom. Others were also thinking about how to use social media as part of instruction. More templates and tools like My Fake Wall sprung up everywhere.

(At this point, if you’re a teacher and not using social media templates as part of your unit design . . . well, it is the 21st century. It’s okay to jump on board.)

The part I like about using Facebook as a historical teaching tool is that it allows kids to bring in a variety of perspectives, primary sources and photos. The exercise forces kids to think in layers rather than simply memorizing data. Likes and comments by other historical characters, profiles and photo albums can be used to create a rich picture of people and events.

So what’s next?

Fakebook.

Created by the people at ClassTools, Fakebook is similar to the old My Fake Wall. It’s a quick and easy way for you and your kids to generate historical Facebook profiles and walls. You start with a profile and add other Facebook elements step by step. Kids can complete their profiles and than send you the finished URL. ClassTools also has a nice portfolio of examples that you and your kids could use as inspiration or discussion starters.

ClassTools wants you to create a premium account so there are ads on the completed profile. If that bugs you, just have kids take a screenshot of their finished work and send it to you as an image or pdf file. They could also print it out and turn in as a hard copy.

Some nice stuff here. Give a try and let me know what works!

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Tip of the Week – My Fake Facebook, Twitter and Text

Several months ago I wrote a post discussing the idea of using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter as a way to help kids create history-related stuff. I followed that up with a Tip of the Week that included a Facebook template that teachers and kids can use to make the process a bit easier.

And now? I was browsing Larry Ferlazzo’s sweet site and ran across his post listing some new tools to simplify the process. Larry listed several sites (including one mentioned by Richard Bryne) that do most of the template creation work for you and your students, making it easier to focus on historical content rather than the process.

I really like the ease of use  of My Fake Wall. (Updated 6/2/2013, My Fake Wall is no longer appropriate for student use.) students create a Facebook look-a-like fairly easily. Create an account, upload photos, insert some text and you’re done. This is what the editing screen looks like:

A couple of issues to think about.

The finished product is a link to a web site displaying your work that’s hosted by My Fake Wall. And while the finished wall looks very Facebookish, it also comes with a ton of ads. I haven’t seen any inappropriate stuff yet but I just don’t like that many ads lying around when I’m working with kids.

The other issue is that the ease of use may actually distract from the historical thinking that you want from your kids. It’s the same with a lot of tools – all of the PowerPoint bells and whistles, for example, can distract from the message. So . . . help kids focus on historical content, not the process.

I used my Mac’s ability to take very specific screenshots of my finished wall that eliminates the ads. The first image below is the before:

This is the after:

Larry mentioned two other sites that let your student “recreate” history. One helps create fake Twitter messages and the other makes fake text messages. We’ve talked about using Twitter before, these new tools can help.

I like these as well – as long as the focus remains on the historical thinking rather than on simply creating a fun activity. All three of these tools are really just new forms of graphic organizers. 21st century strategies that can help students organize their thinking so that the content makes sense. You can use these before, during and after learning.

Have fun!

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Update 1/4/2011 – I just found a very cool PowerPoint template that does a great job of mimicking the Facebook environment. You can download the template here and get some specific instructions / rubric here.

(Thanks Larry and Richard!)

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Tip of the Week – Creating a blank Facebook template

Update 1/4/2011 – I posted some new Facebook online creation tools and Facebook templates on a recent Tip of the Week. Find it here.

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Several months ago, I cranked out a quick post that discussed using a Lincoln Facebook page and Twitter posts to engage kids in historical thinking and conversation.

I really didn’t think that much about it. It seemed to work with the teachers and students I tried it with and so wanted to share the idea with all of you.

Well . . . that particular post is still getting lots of hits and I continue to get emails from teachers asking for blank Facebook pages or blank Facebook templates to use with their kids.

Of course, the best solution would be to actually create a Facebook page for Dwight Eisenhower or Benjamin Banneker or whomever. Then simply edit that page as if you are Ike or Ben.

But Facebook has gotten a bit touchy about that and will probably end up deleting your brand-new fake Ike page. Plus, I don’t know of very many schools that allow Facebook through their internet filters.

The next best thing? Some sort of off-line template.

So . . . today I’ll share a quick overview of what I do to create a blank page and then provide a sample or two.

1. Start by taking a screenshot of a Facebook profile page. If you don’t have a Facebook account, ask one your students to share their profile.

2. Paste the screenshot into some sort of word processing or presentation software. I use Pages on a Mac. But this would work with Powerpoint, MS Word, Keynote . . . just about any software that provides a way to paste in an image (the screenshot) and allows you to insert a text box or shape that can edited.

3. Create text boxes or shapes and place them over the areas of the Facebook screenshot that are specific to your profile. Be sure to leave the headers and titles of those areas visible as much as possible.

This is what the template looks like at this point. I still need to cover my pic and name but you get the idea.

4. Edit each text box or shape so that they have no borders and that the fill color is white.

It should now look something like this:

5. Once everything is covered with white shapes, you can begin to insert photos and boxes with appropriate text. You can do this yourself or you can simply give the kids a paper copy and have them fill in the spaces with pencil. Even better, share the digital template with them. They can then create their own version with pasted images and text boxes using whatever software is available.

If I were a kid, I would prefer to edit the page using digital tools. But that’s just me!

The beginnings of a Dwight D. Eisenhower page:

6. Obviously, you can start with a screenshot of any Facebook page such as the Photos or Info pages.

7. If you do a search on Google, you can find fonts that claim to be the official Facebook font. But I just use Lucinda Grande in my text boxes and it looks pretty good.

If you need a quick template to practice with, you’re welcome to this PDF version.

Have fun!

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Abe Lincoln, Facebook, Twitter and teaching history

LincolnFacebook

Update 2/10/2010 – I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial about creating your own blank Facebook template with downloads here.

Update 1/4/2011 – I posted some new Facebook online creation tools and Facebook templates on a recent Tip of the Week. Find it here.

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I’ve been wanting to get this screen shot of Lincoln’s facebook page off of my desktop for a while and you’re looking for a fun way to suck kids into talking about historical people. I think we can help each other.

Not sure who first came up with the Lincoln Facebook page but it’s been floating around for a while. But if you look closely, you’ll see that who ever it was put some real work into it. (Do you know who Jack Armstrong is?)

And it got me thinking . . . could I use this with middle school and high school kids? I like how we can learn about Lincoln from his Facebook page through a variety of different perspectives, media and voices. Couldn’t we use this format to create some sort of research project or assessment?

A few ideas:

  • The teacher acts as the historical (Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, D-Day paratrooper, Henry VIII) or fictional (Johnny Tremain, Pink & Say, Hawkeye) character and posts comments, photos, speeches, quotes and status updates. Kids interact with the page in much the same way they would on an actual page.
  • Ask your student to create a Facebook page instead of the traditional book report.
  • Students create their own Facebook pages based on research that you assign. This could be a specific person or even non-human kinds of things such as a country, region, event or place. Students would then respond to each others’ pages.

Possible problems?

No access at school. Parent concerns about social networking.

The work- around?

Create an offline template. Not the best but a nice solution that lets you get the same Facebook feel. Kids could do some simple research and complete different pieces of the template, exchange papers and add to one another’s work. This could include fictional and actual links, photos, quotes, friends,  flame wars and possible groups.

Blank Facebook template small

And when you’re finished with Facebook, what about Twitter? Historical Tweets puts together some great tweets from historical characters. (There are some other sample Twitter profiles out there.)

Sticking with the Lincoln theme:

historicaltweet-lincoln02

This seems like more of a hook activity though you could extend the assignment to the creation of Twitter profiles.

Whether Facebook or Twitter, I think it’s a useful way to engage kids with historical content in a format that is familiar and engaging to them.

What ideas have I missed?

(inspired by Multimedia Learning)