Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Facebook and libraries

Will Richardson put out a question about use of Facebook in K-12 and got no examples. I think in most cases it is blocked and/or there are issues with using it with younger students. David Lee King created a screencast of how public libraries might use Facebook with his library as an example. At the same time there was a recent study that seems to indicate the biggest new group of users of Facebook are over 30, especially those in the 50+ age group.

Do you see a role for Facebook in K-12 education? Do you see Nings as providing some of the same features in a constrained environment? Is it the environment or the connection with friends (including those geographically remote) that is most appealing?


  1. I know of one high school library media specialist who wanted to use Facebook as her library web page. When there were changes or new info on the library page, it would show up on the students' wall. Facebook has been blocked recently, in this district due to misuse with pending criminal charges to a former student.

    I will mention the use of Nings to her as a possible alternative to a library Facebook page.

  2. I think the social aspect of Facebook is what makes it so attractive. A co-worker of mine put it this way:"I like finding people I used to know in h.s., college, etc., on Facebook. They are usually people to whom I wonder what happened, but they weren't close enough friends to keep in touch. Facebook book gives me a way to find out how they are doing without having to do much maintenance."

    That pretty much sums up social networking to me: Curiosity, and not necessarily a desire to start a relationship, but the ability to maintain ties. That said, I do have FB friends who I see regularly, and FB is just another way of communicating.

    Schools can capitalize on that curiosity with a tool like FB, a Ning, Moodle, etc. Written words provide a different aspect to a person's personality than how one may convey him/herself in "real life". Look how many avatars in Second Life look nothing like their real life counterpart! If students are discussing a topic online, they may venture opinions they wouldn't verbally, and students who wouldn't be comfortable following up on a comment in class may do so online.

  3. Our public library has a FB page, they post current happenings on it and this Spring a page was created by a group supporting the school referendum. I thought it was a good way to get the word out to potential absentee voters. FB is a tool the kids are familiar with so that makes a good resource and I don't know if we can find a place for FB in schools? I think at this point it has gotten too much press as a social tool and a ning could do the same thing for students/teachers in terms of communication without the baggage that FB brings.

  4. I agree that Facebook and Myspace will be a tough sell in most schools. Right now I think we'd do better to focus on some of the other tools, although this is where the kids currently can be found.