In my previous blog post, I made reference to a number of strategies to embrace the use of Facebook within the K12 classroom to support learning. One of the most powerful features of Facebook for use in the classroom, is the groups feature.
The process used to setup a Facebook group is straight forward and can be completed in just a minute or two. The steps are:
1. Select the Groups link on the left side of your Facebook ‘Home’ page.
2. Click the ‘Create a Group’ button
3. Complete the basic group information.
4. including the category and type information.
5. Click the create groups button to proceed to the group property settings page. I would recommend unchecking the ‘Non-admins can write on the wall’ setting. Unchecking this parameter prevents wall posts leaking out side of the group to Facebook friends of group members.
6. The bottom section of the group property settings page governs the visibility and privacy settings for the group. For K12 purposes, I recommend the closed group setting. This allows the group name to be searched, but keeps the content of the group private to the group membership. With this setup, the group owner can invite members via email addresses and NOT be friends with the members. From the K12 perspective, this allows a teacher to create (own) a group and invite student membership without becoming Facebook friends with the students. In our case, this can be done easily by using our Board generated student email addresses.
Note (20101012): Since researching and experimenting for this blog post, the new groups feature was introduced within the Facebook environment. This feature may impact the functionality described here in terms of the groups members are, or are not, friend relationships. Until this is more clearly understood, I recommend that privacy and security settings are implemented accordingly.
7. Click the ‘Save’ button to activate your settings.
8. Select the ‘invite people to join’ link to send group invites.
Once people accept your group invitation, the collaborating will begin. Enjoy your Facebook Learning space.