Facebook is a social networking website that is free to anyone who wants to join. The users are organized by city, workplace, school, and region in order for them to connect and interact with others in their area. As a member of Facebook, you can utilize the feature called Facebook Chat. With Facebook Chat, you can send other users messages in realtime rather than leaving them a message on their wall or message inbox. 2, 3
Facebook Chat can be used to communicate in real time with friends online instead of communicating through sending messages or writing on their Facebook walls. It is a free application on Facebook and only requires a computer with an internet connection. Facebook Chat is an instant communication device implemented to make Facebook a more user friendly environment.
This communication medium is used by more than ninety million active users everyday for the purpose of communicating with other. People around the world chat with each other. Teachers and students chat with each other. Family members and friends chat with each other. 4, 9
Facebook, the site in which Facebook Chat is located, was launched on November 4, 2004. On August 23, 2008, Facebook announced the upcoming feature of Facebook Chat. Mark E. Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook, the popular social networking website estimated to be worth upward of $1 billion. Facebook was originally created by Harvard University students as a way to quickly connect with friends and share ideas. There has been much controversy as to who actually came up with the idea of Facebook. It was originally called Connect U, and was used by several thousand Harvard students for a variety of online college related tasks. For more information on the origins of Facebook and its creator please go to http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/01/technology/01facebook.html. 2, 3
">I.2 How Does Facebook Chat Work?
Facebook Chat is an application within Facebook that allows users to communicate with other users in real time. Facebook Chat is very easy to use! The following is a step-by-step list of how to use Facebook Chat. 7
- Go to www.Facebook.com and sign up for Facebook for free.
- Log into Facebook with your username and password.
- At the bottom of your window, there will be a menu bar. At the right hand side, it will say 'Chat' and click it.
- A list of your friends that are online will pop up. Pick a friend that you would like to chat with and click their name.
- The rest is simple! Just type your message and hit 'enter' on your keyboard.
">I.3 Additional Information About Facebook Chat
While Facebook can be a safe and wonderful educational tool, it can also be a security issue with some teachers, students, and parents.
A feature of Facebook and Facebook Chat that pertains to security is the privacy setting one can set on their profile. By adjusting the privacy settings, schools can create networks that only their students and faculty can access. This means that a user who is not friends with a student in the school cannot become the student's friend without the student approving them. Facebook and Facebook Chat can be safe and great educational tools if they are used correctly. 10, 11
For more information about Facebook Chat, visit http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=12811122130.
">II. How Does Facebook Chat Relate to Other Applications?
">II.1 Comparison to Competitors
Facebook Chat could be compared to chat programs such as AOL Instant Messanger (AIM), MSN Messanger, and Google Talk. What makes Facebook Chat stand out is that it is integrated into a social networking site and is not just a program that runs on your computer. Facebook Chat is always available during your social networking ventures and while the Facebook internet window is present. Another feature of Facebook Chat that makes it stand out is that you may chat with your friends that are on Facebook instead of creating a separate friends list for one of the other chat programs.
">II.2 Unique Uses
When Facebook first launched, the only way to access it was through the internet on a computer. Now, with the advances of cell phones and the internet, one can access Facebook Chat anywhere. Facebook Chat can be used as an application on any cell phone that has wireless internet. It is very similar to texting, but through Facebook.
Not only can Facebook Chat be used on Facebook, but with the help of an opensourse chat client, it can be integrated into other chat programs and have more features. Pidgin, used by Windows, allows you to combine chat programs such as MSN, Google Talk, AIM, Facebook Chat, and others. Adium is another program that is essentially the same as Pigdin, but for Macs. Finally, Digsby is a program that allows you to combine chat, email, and social netoworking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. 12
">III. Real World Application
">III.1 Educational Lesson Plans
">i. Elementary Lesson Plans
(1) High-Tech Pen Pals
In this lesson plan, students will use Facebook Chat to communicate with international pen pals in a high-tech fashion.
The students will have to learn how to use Facebook Chat and then will write summaries based on each conversation they have with their pen pals.
(2) Neighborhood Safari (S.T.E.M.)
In this lesson plan, students will use Facebook Chat to compare their observations with a group in a corresponding class.
The students will have to learn how to use Facebook Chat, observe animals in their neighborhoods, record their observations, and chat with their corresponding group to compare observations.
">ii. Secondary Lesson Plans
(1) Virtual Tutor (S.T.E.M.)
In this lesson plan, students will use Facebook Chat to tutor each other in math.
The students will have to learn how to use Facebook Chat, complete their math assignment, receive or give help on the assignment, and write a brief summary explaining the tutoring.
(2) Job Interview Experience
In this lesson plan, students will use Facebook Chat to practice job interview skills.
The students will have to learn how to use Facebook Chat, interview their partner, be interviewed by their partner, and evaluate their partner based upon their answers to the interview questions.
">iii. Post Secondary Lesson Plans
(1) Virtual Science Tutor (S.T.E.M.)
In this lesson plan, students will use Facebook Chat to tutor each other in science.
The students will have to learn how to use Facebook Chat, complete their science homework, receive or give help on the homework, and then write a short summary explaining the tutoring.
(2) Literature Peer Review
In this lesson plan, students will use Facebook Chat to chat about the peer review they completed.
The students will have to learn how to use Facebook Chat and peer review a partner's literary analysis of a novel.
">IV. Demonstration of Educational Value
Facebook Chat has many possible uses in the classroom as a means of increasing learning and bettering education. Facebook Chat is an instant messaging tool available to anyone who has set up a Facebook profile. After you have done this, you are then able to chat in real time with your friends through the Facebook website. As a note to teachers: this does require you to have a Facebook profile if you are going to monitor or be involved with the online discussions between students in your class, and even you if you wish to be involved. Therefore, it is very important that when creating your profile, you make sure to keep it as professional as possible. Your students will be able to see and read anything that you post on your profile. As a professional, it is important that you follow any rules or guidelines about language use, conversations, or inappropriate pictures and postings just like you would in your classroom at school.
Facebook Chat can be used as a way of getting groups to communicate outside of school, when working on research projects, lab write ups and other activities that require members of a group to communicate with one another to get the project done.
Facebook Chat could also be used as a tool for answering student's questions even after the class has let out. As a teacher, you could set up a time each night when you would be logged in and free to answer any questions about that days class or the current homework assignment. Facebook chat provides a way for you to be more available to your students.
In addition, Facebook Chat can be used in the school between teachers as a quicker way to communicate with one another instead of sending emails. This means that you do not have to check your email during the day to find important announcements and other postings. All correspondence between teachers, administration, and tech will be done in real time using an instant messaging tool like Facebook Chat.
Using Facebook Chat in an educational setting has brought up positive and negative criticisms. The following lists are examples of each.
1.) School corporations can set up networks for just their students allowing student and teacher communication at any time and any place not just in class.
2.) Teachers and administration can be in real time communication at all times which increases response time and crisis management increasing security and the safety of the students.
3.) Teachers can answer multiple questions quickly and from home, during a time when other wise the student would not be able to ask a question
4.) Provides a good way to increase social networking in the school among the students in a safe and controlled environment.
1.) Facebook has been designed as a social networking tool, and for that purpose it works really well. It was not designed to be used for education so all of the possible uses for Facebook chat we have listed above are exactly that; probabilities.
2.) Students have been using Facebook for such a long time as a way to communicant with their friends about everything except topics covered in class, and well old habits die hard. You may find it difficult to keep them on task and focus when using Facebook.
3.) Safety, Safety, Safety, Facebook has been referred to as stalker.com, leaving many parents fearful of letting their children use the site and therefore many schools have completely blocked any access to Facebook or MySpace through school servers. If this is the case at your school then Facebook Chat will be of no value as an educational tool.
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">V. How is Facebook Chat Used Internationally?
Facebook Chat is an international application that is used by millions of people all over the world, and it is available in over 70 different languages.
Facebook Chat is the new and innovated way to write to international pen pals. Originally, the idea of having a pen pal was to communicate with an international student by means of writing letters back and forth. Generally how it would work is a teacher from the United States would find a teacher in another country and then they would assign each student in the class a student in the foreign class to be a pen-pals.
Facebook Chat can be used in the same way, except instead of sending letter, each week the partner classes would set up a time to go to the computer labs in their respective schools and talk to one another via Facebook Chat. This would be a new and innovative way to have a pen pal because each student could talk to their international pen pal in real time.
The following is a YouTube video presenting information gained from a survey of students in Korea that use Facebook Chat. 13
The following are references that were used while compiling information about Facebook Chat.
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