Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘facebook’

5 Days of Helpful Tools: Day 4 – 440 Ways to Use Social Media

It’s Day Four. The question is easy to ask – with so many tools out there, what would best to share? No easy answer but today we’re going with social media tools.

I’m convinced that when used appropriately these sorts of tools can help improve teaching and learning. But a lot of us shy away from using them in education because we’re not sure what that use looks like. So here ya go. Lots of ideas on using social media in the classroom.

So go just a little bit crazy. Pick just one of these 440 ways and give it a try.

(I’m sure there’s more than 440. What have we missed?)

10 Must Like Facebook Pages for Social Studies Teachers

It seems like everyone has a Facebook page. Companies, organizations, schools. I’m pretty sure my Jack Russell terrier has her own page. So where to start? Are there pages worth liking? Try the 10 below:

1. Library of Congress
The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity

2. US National Archives
The official Facebook page for public news and events at the National Archives.

3. Today’s Document
A great way to access the daily primary document posted by the National Archives.

4. Smithsonian Institution
The world’s largest museum complex & research organization composed of 19 museums

5. National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history.

6. Civil War 150
Explore the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

7. NY Times Disunion Civil War
The Disunion series from The New York Times revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period. It will use contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical analysis to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.

8. National History Day
The Official Page for National History Day! NHD makes history come alive for America’s youth by engaging them in the discovery of the historic, cultural and social experiences of the past.

9. Williamsburg for Teachers
The department of Education Outreach is dedicated to bringing the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to new and distant audiences. Through the Electronic Field Trip Series, Teacher Institute, off-site teacher development programs, and curriculum for grades K-12, Education Outreach reaches thousands of teachers and students every year.

Williamsburg has tons of other pages on Facebook. Check ’em out here.

10. Edutopia
Edutopia is where The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s vision to highlight what works in education comes to life. Edutopia provides stories integrating creative uses of technology with effective teaching and learning.

Bonus Page
Facebook in Education
Facebook in education examines ways in which Facebook is being used in an educational context.

Want more?

On each page, click the Info link on the left-hand side. Scroll down and see what other Facebook Pages are “liked” by the page you’re on. Crazy amounts of more stuff.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

The History of America ala Facebook – Great start of school activity

Last week at the Teaching America History conference, I had the chance to share with a few groups some ideas for using Facebook as an instructional tool.

During the discussion, we discovered a light-hearted History of America as seen through the eyes of America’s Facebook wall. Got us thinking.

It seems like a great way to start your school year.

Have kids re-create the wall through the perspective of different groups. What would the wall say if Native Americans were typing? African Americans? Different political parties? Women? Other countries? Have different groups of kids create walls and then lead a whole-group discussion about which events to add / subtract from a class wall.

You could have kids re-create the wall for just a specific period of time or for just the period of time covered in your class.

However you decide to adapt the activity, it will stimulate interest, encourage history conversations and provide you with some idea of students’ prior knowledge. I could even see teachers using this all year long as sort of Big Picture graphic organizer.

Let me know how it turns out!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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?


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!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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.


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!

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Facebook is not a killer app – for grades, that is

My daughter is hooked on Facebook. Should I be worried?

According to recent research by a group of marketing students at the University of New Hampshire, probably not. After talking with over 1000 college students, researchers concluded that social media use of up to an hour a day has no impact on student grades.

The student researchers classified light users of social media as respondents who spent less than 31 minutes every day on social networking sites. Heavy users, according to the study, spent more than an hour daily on social media sites.

Sixty-three percent of heavy users earned high grades—A’s and B’s—while 65 percent of light users received high marks

And while I can question methods, survey group, question types and perhaps even the researchers themselves, it does raise an interesting topic:

  • Has the use of Facebook and other social media such as Twitter and Youtube changed even in the last few years? And if it has, has the change had any impact on grades?
  • Perhaps most important, has the use of social media by kids impacted their learning?

Chuck Martin, the professor whose class conducted the study, suggests yes.

(The use of social networks) has evolved so that people dip in and dip out. They use it in short spurts. They may be using social media 30 seconds at a time, rather than 30 minutes at a time.

The result?

. . . students have grown up with social networks (and) they are now simply part of how students interact with each other, with no apparent impact on grades.

My experience with my own kids would support Martin and the findings of his students. My kids are on Facebook, they do use YouTube as well as other Web 2.0 tools. But I don’t see them heads down in their laptops for hours on end. Like Martin said, they “dip in and out.”

But are they smarter or dumber? Of course, since they have their mother’s genes, they were pretty bright to begin with but I not sure I can answer that question. How do you truly measure that kind of impact?

Farrell, Rolland. “Facebook Ilustration.” 19 February 2009. 12 January 2010.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend