While I enjoy the social aspect of Web 2.0, there was a long period where I avoided the popular Facebook. Besides my desire to disconnect every once in a while, I really didn't see the value of it. As most Facebook stories go, an old and true friend encouraged me to join so we could stay connected. Over the past months I have reconnected with old school friends, added members of my PLN, got updates from relatives I never see,and have expanded to work colleagues that I actually like. Then it happened...a few students made friend requests. I had no idea what to do so I let them stay in the request list while I turned to my PLN for their opinions.
On the Twitter end it was a 50/50 split. There were strong advocates against the idea and some that were brave enough to admit that they had student FB friends. On the Plurk side there were many more who were FB friends with students, but with conditions. Many would only become friends with former students and only if they had graduated from high school. So even though the majority did not seem to be in favor of friending high school students, I decided to take the risk and try it out. It helped to know I could put all the students in a list and limit what they see. Not that I was too worried about me since I try to be careful about what I post, but I did not want them to have access to my friends and what they decide to post.
Now for the bigger risk: I have decided to see if Facebook can be a valuable extension of the classroom. One of my dreams is to have students continue to share their creations after the quarter class is over. So I set up a private FB group for students to discuss and share. This is just a part of a plan to make my class more connected with a new Twitter account and Google Voice Number.
There are a lot of precautions to take, but I think this has great potential. It is the risk taking that makes a new school year exciting. Whether it becomes a success or a failure, the results will be right here.