Studies have shown that Facebook over passed MySpace worldwide in traffic and they will have a hard battle this year to maintain their identities. No matter what developers hate about Facebook, it's set to eclipse MySpace in the US early next year.
So, Facebook will be so popular in the U.S. but the question for educators remains, Should teachers become virtual friends with their students?
We think teachers may become virtual friends with their students, as far as both keep the relationship teacher/student at the same level. There are situations when either a student or a teacher doesn't get acquainted with one another, and then this kind of connection might disrupt into conflict. However, I still think teachers should see in Facebook a place to interact and relax. That's what the young community thinks of this social network, "You can communicate when it's not something very, very serious", to quote a student at the University of Texas in Austin and cited in Teachers face dilemma with Facebook.
There is not consensus about making students virtual friends in Facebook, yet. "Opponents fear innocent educators will be branded sexual predators for chatting with students online, while proponents caution against overreacting to a powerful communication tool.", writes Erica Mellon in the cited chron.com article.
Teachers face dilemma with Facebook stressed what Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, suggests to their members. He asked them to avoid connecting with students on social-networking sites. Most of times it would be Ok, he says, but "What do you do with that one whose parent goes nuts: What do you mean you're my kid's friend?" It all falls into what we all know as professionalism.
It's pretty easy to make a group in Facebook and start calling for adhesion. Teachers and administrators are concerned of groups like Teachers Need to Get the Hell Off Facebook. Perception is, students think that they are the bridge through what schools patrol for cyber-bullying. Adults in Facebook simply are considered creepy for some students.
Administrators think of Facebook to be like a giant family reunion or class reunion. Would you invite your students to your family reunion or class reunion? Many would expect not. Case in point, there is much you can share about family on these social networks but it's up to you, how much you share it online. You can always select which of your students are allowed to see and read what you've posted.
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