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ⓘ The Age of Data

Aree Wongwanlee

Legacy Member
Nov 27, 2014
I have spent the last few years teaching English as a second language in Thailand. Very often, the number of students in a class are too many to allow the teacher to pay much attention to each individual. The last place I taught was a nursing college. Each class had 150 students. Even though each lesson was two hours, it's still impossible to pay enough attention to each and every student.

I have found a way to get around this problem. What I did was create a Facebook group for each class of students. Then after I had taught them in class, I assigned them to practice speaking what I have taught and to record it, then post it in the Facebook group. This way, all of them had to speak and put their speaking practice on record because I graded them according to the videos which they upload.

There's one side bonus from using this method. I found that, on the average, my students would do at least two takes before they upload their videos. That meant, even without me supervising them personally, they were practicing what I have taught them. Of course, this way of teaching meant that I had to spend a lot of my own time watching each and every video. However, it was worth the extra work because of the benefits to the students.

Has anyone else used Facebook as a teaching tool?
I personally haven't ever used Facebook or any form of social media as a teaching tool, but I do think, as you have proved it can be used successfully in that way. While social media does get a lot of bad publicity, and some of it deserved, I do also think that it can be used for good intentions such as you've described as well.

Social media was originally made for bringing people closer together, and I think this is what it needs to get back to, as does the internet in general because recently it seems to have moved a little and it's not surprised that people are concentrating more and more on the dark side of what it offers as that is all we are hearing about rather than the good it can do.
This is interesting. I do not even have a Facebook account, so I am not really sure what kind of features or new technologies they have really started using, but I am still thinking that I can see the benefits here. You cannot really help but be a little skeptical though, and think that in the hands of kids this might not be the best idea, just because they would prefer the social aspects. I am curious to hear a little more, though.
That is a good use of facebook. I think in a classroom setting it might not be the best tool since students can get easily distracted and could end up going to everything else besides what they are supposed too.
This is no doubt one of the silver linings of Facebook other than monetization and marketing where most individuals are won't to take advantage of with the rest preferring to socialize and keep tabs to belong. I haven't experimented with the same but I suppose you should submit it to a business plan or learning model evaluation platforms where you can be enlisted to propagate the model this being a disruptive learning technology.
[DOUBLEPOST=1474567398][/DOUBLEPOST]This is no doubt one of the silver linings of Facebook other than monetization and marketing where most individuals are won't to take advantage of with the rest preferring to socialize and keep tabs to belong. I haven't experimented with the same but I suppose you should submit it to a business plan or learning model evaluation platforms where you can be enlisted to propagate the model this being a disruptive learning technology.
I have once been asked by another teacher why I use Facebook. Since he was my senior, I didn't want to upset him by being aggressive with my answer. The simple answer is that, one, Facebook is free and, two, it works. It costs nothing to set up a Facebook account and it costs nothing to set up a Facebook group. To do the same thing with our own site would involve a lot of time, effort and money. On top of that, Facebook has got a very high reliability in terms of uptime. This is important for anything you want to do on the Web. A site that keeps on crashing will turn off its users. Facebook does crash but it's a very, very rare occurrence.

If you want to see how I did it, you can look me up under my name on Facebook. Then you can see the groups I have created for my students and you can see how they used it to learn English.
I think teaching ESL onlne is the way to go. I've been teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) for more than 10 years now and consider myself to be very experienced in all levels, from basic to advanced. I've been teaching English the conventional way (in physical classrooms) and recently I've been getting into the Online Teaching part because I think it's just as important if not even more than conventional teaching since you can reach more people that way and teach them.
Online teaching? Yes, I have some friends that do that. Myself, I have not really done any online teaching with any of the online companies offering such services. That doesn't mean I am not in favor of online teaching. In fact, using Facebook as a teaching tool is my first experiment with online teaching. Right now, I am learning programming so that I can eventually write a mobile app to teach English online.
Very interesting, I have never used this method before and I am thrilled to find a great use for Facebook groups. Personally I would be never at ease to handle a class of 150 students. I can handle 45-60 at the most. The online study method we are encouraged to use is Via Skype and it is always one student at a time (very rarely we have two student usually siblings). Here we repeat sentences to ensure that the student gets the pronunciations right. We also encourage the students to make sentences without referring to other sources like google where they just copy and voice the sentences. We use simple texts for comprehension and paraphrasing. These are the only methods of teaching online I have used so far.
Facebook has been used as a part of our curriculum. I never personally used it though, it seems to me that it add as distraction. Speaking from experience, students nowadays are glued to facebook and they would rather used it as an opportunity to message each other about unrelated stuff. We also do not have availability of wifi connection to use which makes it even difficult.
Speaking from a time of worldwide quarantine, online classes are now more encouraged than ever. My school uses 'Microsoft Teams', an app that specializes in exactly what you were using Facebook for. It's definitely way more convenient and much less distracting than using a social media. I'm not quite sure, but I think it can handle more than 150 students in one "classroom" which further describes its convenience. I'm sure it didn't exist in 2016 (the year of your post) but for the sake of the thread, I'm giving a reply to say that technology has come a long way to troubleshoot these cases.
About the method itself, it's pretty much the same as making your 150 students do and send in written assignments. However, in this case, you don't need to bother thinking of how heavy it'd be and how much energy it'd need to check every single one of them. Especially for linguistic classes, it is also much more effective as you get to hear their pronunciation and grammar which is more essential in using a language than spellings:writing: which you will miss out on if you use this method.
What I see in what you did is using what they love to get them practice what is important, and its an amazing concept.

I've not used, or thought about any creative way to use FB or other social tools to teach. But as a result of your creativity I'm being compelled right now to find out a means though which I can make social tools work in the classroom.
Perhaps facebook was not started as such a transformative power in the space but now not only are some businesses conducting exclusively through facebook, they also are advancing website code and they are redefining web design.

I have been pointed in the direction of this article which is an interesting read: https://engineering.fb.com/web/facebook-redesign/

Google hangouts is quite good too for international communication, it also has a very useful translation tool if the language gets a little lost at A1 level although you should avoid it if you can!
I think Facebook if used correctly can benefit teachers and student alike. I've only used Facebook Messenger for announcements in class, that's the only thing that me and my fellow teachers have used it for. We don't usually use Facebook for anything else as there's too much distraction on the app itself. I do like your idea and I might try to use it one of these days. You do have a point that Facebook is free, it is also free to use via mobile data in my country so yes this would be a great teaching platform especially now during the pandemic.