Sunday, May 25, 2014

Using Facebook for (Math) Courses

I started using Facebook as a communications tool for my courses about 2 months ago - as an experiment. I had previously been using Moodle and e-mail (both of which I still use) as my primary means of online communications with students. Although both worked they were cumbersome to use and did not really motivate students to read the content or take part in online conversations about math and education. Hence the experiment with FB.

I setup a FB group for my IB math (SL & HL) classes and sent an invite to all class members. I had not used FB groups before. I found the setup and administration easy and students could join the group without having to become a FB "friend" (which I do not do with students).

I immediately realized that this experiment was going to be a hugh success since:
  • Every class member already had a FB account and all joined the group within the day/week
  • All class members could post and respond to messages with comments
  • There was immediate feedback on who had viewed each post ("Seen by...")
  • Class members (and I) could seamlessly post math-related content from any web page ("Share on FB") and any device (computer, mobile...)
My courses now use FB for many tasks, including:
  • Posting course announcements
  • Posting assignment and assessment information
  • Posting reminders, hints, and other "immediate" content
  • Students post questions on assignments - and help each other online. This is great because it (1) gets them to write about math, and (2) let's everyone in class read, or better yet, actively take part
  • Students and I post math-related content, including articles, math jokes, links to useful sites...
It is a wonderful way to engage students in math outside the classroom and the possibilities for ways to use FB for the classroom are endless.

Some screenshots of a few examples are below.

Problem Posts & Discussion

Test Summary

Link to Article

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