Friday, February 6, 2009

Facebook instructional video for teachers

You may already be a member of the social networking site Facebook, or maybe you're still thinking it over. A couple of days ago, our own Jim Levy posted and linked to a Prawfsblawg discussion about the pros and cons of joining (and "friending" your current and former students).

If you have already plunged (or decided to take the plunge) into Facebook, check out "Facebook for Educators: An Instruction Guide for Teachers." Produced by Ben Ambrogi, the son of lawyer-blogger Robert Ambrogi, this seven-minute video tutorial walks you through the process of creating a Facebook profile and describes the basic features of the site (like the "Wall").

Facebook for Educators from Inigral Inc. on Vimeo.

And if you're already plugged in to Facebook, why not become a fan of the Legal Writing Institute?

hat tip for video: Kelly Browe Olson


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Poor grammar was rampant in the comments on the "wall" displayed in the video. (I found it curious to call the main area the "wall" considering the late-20th century's recent negative history in Germany.) The background music had lyrics that included the term "minimum wage."

As for making friends and revealing my personal interests...I'll remain the adult in the instructor-student relationship and keep my private life to myself. Last I checked - though it's been a few days - telephones still worked, as did antique technology such as email, "xerox" copies, and hand-written notes (when I can borrow a pen from a student who actually possesses one). Or maybe a student will get off the couch in the student lounge, take some initiative, and come see me in my office where we can, you know, talk, discuss, and debate the more sublime points of my course rules, like submitting papers with correct spelling.

Maybe the reason why we have such trouble getting students to break the bindings of their brand new law books is because they spend all their time reading cutesy-pie comments from electronically-profiled friends on sites like Facebook.

Facebook offers nothing that an effective instructor cannot already do, and nothing that Blackboard cannot already do. Students may choose to spend more of their time browsing and clicking around Facebook. Instructors can also choose the methods of communication with our students. If I want to post my favorite color, my zodiac sign, some snapshots of my recent beer-fueled bar-b-que, or what non-Youtube movie actually held my interest for more than 4 minutes, I'll type up a handout and crank up the mimeograph machine.

Facebook was created so college students could share notes or find sex. Dressing it up by using language like "connecting with our students" just smells like a big law suit waiting to happen. I'll pass. I'm not ready to retire in infamy.

Here's the problem with "technology": put this URL in your browser and scroll down to the February 2, 2009, comic panel. Enough said.


Posted by: Joseph Bazan | Feb 10, 2009 8:22:01 AM

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