More and more teachers are integrating social media into education. I’m glad to see teachers taking small steps in this direction. One natural tool to do this is Facebook’s Questions function.
First, let me admit that when I was a teacher I was very wary of Facebook. I was very afraid of my students finding me on Facebook and knowing about my personal life. I shouldn’t have been surprised one day when at track practice, one of my players asked, “Hey coach Dees, are you on Facebook?” and another player butted in, “Yeah, he is dating a teacher at St. Ann’s.” It wasn’t a big deal. That teacher is now my wife and I wasn’t keeping her a secret. But it was a nice eye-opener.
Lesson learned: you can’t hide your social media presence.
So you can either embrace it or shun it. With school policies in mind and privacy issues in the forefront of what you do, consider using Facebook Questions to teach religion.
Using Facebook Pages
One way to keep your private life (family and friends) separate from school to some extent is to set up a Facebook Page either as a teacher or a classroom. It is very easy to do and should only take seconds if you have a Facebook account. Rather than go into the “how-to’s” and “why-to’s” of Facebook and social media here, just check out Jonathan Sullivan’s webinars. Jonathan is the director of catechetical ministries for the diocese of Springfield and well-versed in social media.
Using Pages doesn’t eliminate all concerns. Many parents ban Facebook (and for good reason!) or take it away as punishment. Many younger students simply don’t use it yet (and again for good reason!). Get a feel for how practical this might be and always get permission from parents first.
Using Facebook Questions to Teach Religion
I have been doing a little experimenting on The Religion Teacher Facebook Page with Facebook questions since the launch of the New Roman Missal Student Activity Pack. It has been a fun way to see how well adult catechist and teachers know the changes to the mass.
Here are some examples of Facebook questions:
The concept is easy. Type a question and give students multiple choice answers.
5 Ways to Use Facebook Questions to Teach Religion
1. Post quizzes online. Don’t grade their work (yet), but post some simple multiple choice questions online.
2. Assess prior knowledge. Introducing a new topic? Post a question on Facebook and assign it for homework to see what students know prior to coming to class.
3. Be relevant. When you post options as answers, you can bring up other Facebook Pages. Integrate current events and popular Catholic figures like the Pope or bishops in your questions.
4. Have students create questions. As a quick assessment (or just an assignment) have students post their own questions as review on Facebook. Students can then answer each other’s questions.
5. You tell me! Get creative. What other ways can you use Facebook Questions to teach religion? Post your ideas in the comments below.