Facebook was once the small, sheltered territory of a couple of techie college students and some high school kids who found ways to sneak past the filter. At the time, it was all about Friendster and MySpace.
Parents, middle school kids, corporations, advertisers are all over Facebook. Even teachers are using it.
A couple of years ago, I published a quick post about using Facebook as a teaching tool with a Lincoln profile as an example. A tip on how to create an Eisenhower Facebook template followed and we followed that with more ideas on how to use a variety of Facebook and Twitter online tools in the classroom. Others were also thinking about how to use social media as part of instruction. More templates and tools like My Fake Wall sprung up everywhere.
(At this point, if you’re a teacher and not using social media templates as part of your unit design . . . well, it is the 21st century. It’s okay to jump on board.)
The part I like about using Facebook as a historical teaching tool is that it allows kids to bring in a variety of perspectives, primary sources and photos. The exercise forces kids to think in layers rather than simply memorizing data. Likes and comments by other historical characters, profiles and photo albums can be used to create a rich picture of people and events.
So what’s next?
Created by the people at ClassTools, Fakebook is similar to the old My Fake Wall. It’s a quick and easy way for you and your kids to generate historical Facebook profiles and walls. You start with a profile and add other Facebook elements step by step. Kids can complete their profiles and than send you the finished URL. ClassTools also has a nice portfolio of examples that you and your kids could use as inspiration or discussion starters.
ClassTools wants you to create a premium account so there are ads on the completed profile. If that bugs you, just have kids take a screenshot of their finished work and send it to you as an image or pdf file. They could also print it out and turn in as a hard copy.
Some nice stuff here. Give a try and let me know what works!