This year I am trialling the use of facebook with my two Year 11 PE classes. I have set it up as a facebook profile with a facebook group set inside it. It is the groups they are connected to which are private and work by students requesting access and me as the owner of the page accepting them. Membership to this was offered as a voluntary option to students. My reasoning behind using facebook at this stage as a way to communicate with my students, was purely based on the fact that most of them already use facebook, and so any post I make on the page automatically comes up on their pages. So essentially everything comes to them easily using facebook.
Currently the way I have used the page is for
This is one of the easiest ways I used to remind my students about bringing their PE gear if I had changed what I had planned for the next lesson. Or about bringing other equipment needed for the lesson. Reminders about tutorials coming up, homework that needed to be completed or something that I had forgotten to mention to them during the lesson.
Providing Web links to our LMS (learning management system)
Currently all of our powerpoints, worksheets, links to videos and loads of other information is set up in our LMS which at our school is Scholaris. I have used scholaris quite extensively since its introduction at my school, however I always found the students reluctant to bother going onto it. By providing them with the links, they have utilised this system far more than any students I have taught in the past.
Asking Thought Provoking Questions Prior to Teaching Content
Occasionally I will try to come up with a question in a sporting context that is in line with what I am about to teach. I have not required students to respond but merely put the question out there. Sometimes students have commented and other times they have not. I think that even though they are not replying there is the possibility that the student may ponder that question even if only for a moment. By doing this I am trying to get students to think using their prior knowledge and their kinaesthetic knowledge of movement in order to answer a question. By doing this before I have taught a concept I am hoping that students will bring that prior knowledge with them to class.
For this I will write the homework question on the board and pop it on the facebook page at the end of the class. It may have been after teaching a concept or theory which I then want students to have a go at applying to a sporting context they are familiar with. It is important to be asking good questions but questions that only require short answers, essays length answers will most definitely turn the students off and the number of reply’s will be limited! When doing this I will often while sitting at home in the evening have a quick look at the responses. I have the ability at this point as does any other student to reply to them to let them know if they are on the right track or not. Ideally I want them in the future to use each other to do this also, this has begun to happen, although the students still place a higher significance on the teacher’s comments.
Contrary to what one would think, this is so quick and easy and worthwhile. Students love the almost instant feedback and it is so much easier than using valuable class time to check homework has been completed. This also gives teachers a record of understanding of students that can be accessed via any internet capable device. Rather than in a book somewhere at the bottom of a schoolbag. The level of individual feedback possible is awesome and the opportunity should not be taken for granted. Obviously if you have large classes and many of them, more general group replies are an alternative.
Flipping the Classroom
This concept is quite the buzz idea at the moment, particularly in elearning circles. This involves students doing tasks that would normally be done at school at home e.g. writing content notes, leaving time at school to apply the content.
The way in which I have used this is by putting up a link on the facebook page to a set of notes stored on scholaris (our LMS). Students are then required to read those notes, summarise into key points or to complete particular questions (videos can also be used in this way). The homework tasks can be varied and could include summarising information, gathering key points to then apply in a practical context the next day. The next day we then talk about the content and do activities that require students to apply that information.
Students Comments 2012
Here are a few of the comments students recently gave about our use of facebook so far this year.
“Really, really, really helpful.” Jodie
“There’s more class interaction.” Katie
“Helpful as you can get ideas from others as to how to answer a question if you are struggling” Georgia
“It is helpful to be able to access links to the power points” Leah
“It makes you think” Jodie
“An opportunity to give feedback.” Georgia