Facebook for First-Graders? It's Happening.

Erin Schoening, a first-grade teacher at Gunn Elementary School in Iowa, is using Facebook in the classroom to engage her seven-year-olds and their parents, according to an article in the Daily Nonpareil Online.

The teacher created a Facebook page for the class and uses it ask questions about what they've learned, pull students into online discussions, update parents on class schedules and events, and connect students and their parents to each other.

A quote from a six-year-old student:

“I like Facebook because we send things to our parents and tell them what we do and they send notes back saying they like it.”

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A quote from another teacher in the school who also uses Facebook:

“[Students] write for an audience,” he said. “They’ll get comments from students, parents and other classes. They get classroom dialogues... The parents love it. Many already know how to use Facebook and now their kids can’t say ‘I don’t remember what we did in school today.’ Parents can use it to start conversations with their children. Teachers can post pictures or videos.”

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With all the controversy around privacy traps and questions of appropriate behavior on social network sites, Facebook has been vilified as scary territory for teachers. But this story perfectly illustrates that the site can be used a learning tool without falling prey to those dangers -- if it's done carefully and with forethought.

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