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Tips for teachers considering using Facebook in lessons or to communicate with students and others.

In some cases, teachers are using Facebook groups or creating separate accounts for professional use — rather than their personal pages — and they are reminded to set clear guidelines for the use of social media with students. 

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, reaching 1 billion active users at the beginning of October. People across the globe use Facebook to connect with old friends, share news about their lives and even to maximize their brand’s social reach. 

In its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook lists a minimum age requirement of 13, which means that more and more students in high school and college are signing up for the social network. As a teacher, what should you do if a student sends you a friend request? Does age play a factor? Should you be careful about what you post, even if it’s from your private account?

We spoke with teachers, professors and other education professionals about best Facebook practices to help answer these questions and more.

Understanding Facebook’s Atmosphere

Each social platform exhibits a preexisting tone or atmosphere, and Facebook has a large focus on personal, one-on-one interactions. This is one of the main reasons why teachers engaging students (and vice versa) can be problematic.

Bree McEwan, an assistant professor of communication at Western Illinois University, says that it’s important for educators to consider each platform when using social media. McEwan wrote a chapter in a recent edition of Interpersonal Boundaries in Teaching and Learning called “Managing Boundaries in the Web 2.0 Classroom.”

“Social media can be a great way to extend the walls of a traditional classroom,” she tells Mashable, but adds that faculty should take care when exploring the benefits of various networks. McEwan uses Twitter, for example, to share links and other things she finds interesting regarding her field, so she lets any student follow her there.

Facebook, in contrast, focuses more on the individual.

“I view Facebook as a bit more personal, so I generally don’t friend students there until they have graduated,” McEwan says. “Whatever one’s policy is, it is important to create the same policy for all students.”

McEwan says that if a teacher feels comfortable being friends with students on Facebook, the teacher should let the student come to him or her.

“Students may feel awkward about making decisions regarding accepting or denying their instructor’s request,” she says. “Don’t put them in that position.”

Teaching Students About Social Media…

Continue Reading:  Mashable 

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