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Education Nation

A solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America

Miami Teacher & Students Becoming Facebook Friends

Should students and teachers communicate after the school bell rings?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thanks to facebook, Kelly Hildebrandt will marry Kelly Hildebrandt this October.

    You've heard the stories of teachers busted for inappropriate contact with students, some of that communication often happening over social networking sites. It raises the question ‘should students and teachers communicate after the school bell rings?’

    One South Florida teacher is doing it and she says it’s for the students' advantage. It's all done over Facebook.

    Teacher Encourages Students to "Like" Class

    [MI] Teacher Encourages Students to "Like" Class
    At Virella High School, logging onto Facebook is encouraged. (Published Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010)

    Interestingly enough, students and teachers cannot log on to the Website on school grounds. But when school gets out, the social networking site becomes a classroom of its own.

     

    "What happens when demand is greater than supply? It's an example of a shortage," economics teacher Rachel Socarras engages her class in discussion.

     

    Her students have access to her virtually 24 hours a day. It's because this classroom extends beyond four walls.

     

    "I did some research on it…articles and studies that have been done at Yale, Harvard, some ivy league schools I’ve been doing research on how students are able to communicate with teachers through Facebook," she said.

     

    So the Varela High teacher set up a Facebook page just for her classes, complete with lesson reviews, question and answers, even videos.

     

    "All of our notes, all of our assignments are on that Facebook page," said student Kayla Richman who logs on everyday.

     

    Socarras said she's seeing results from her students.

     

    "Of the 145, I've seen literally an 80 percent increase in the amount of homework being turned in, and the communication I’m getting from them, and the parents are using Facebook to get in touch with me also," she said.

     

    Parents like William Toro.

     

    "I thought it was a joke," said Toro, until he joined in.

     

    "I signed up as the teacher's friends. Now [my son] gets his homework and assignments and I follow up too. I get it too….now he's very engaged…and he'll come to me, ‘pop what about this, what about that topic?’ He loves it," said Toro. "I love it too. He's using the computer for something positive."

     

    It’s something positive the teacher is making relevant to her high schoolers.

     

    "I have a rule. They're allowed to e-mail me up until 9 o'clock at night. They know the rules,” she said assertively.

     

    They also know not to expect conversation about the teacher's personal life. She has a separate account for friends and associates - creating a sharp separation from her students.