A new plug-in has recently been designed that will link Facebook with Moodle. Students can jump between sites seamlessly and do so through a single login. It will also allow students to post their live stream directly from Moodle into their Facebook status updates—thus bridging online learning and social networking. But, should Facebook have a place in the classroom?
Those who have been active in higher education in the last decade have likely encountered the often heated debate on whether or not to allow students to access the internet during class. The argument often draws factions between those who feel that it is detrimental to learning and so should be banned from the classroom, and those who feel that it is an indicator of the future of learning and thus should be harnessed as a learning asset. On both sides of the argument, these groups are able to explain why their own position represents best practice. But, instructors are often left to settle the issue for their own classrooms with no formal parameter either way. In the one extreme, some instructors have gone as far as using “jamming” equipment to block internet access for their students. On the other side, there are those who have begun using personal blogs, Twitter accounts, and social networking as means for students to engage with the content and their peers. Two very distinct extremes both claiming to have the student’s best interest at heart… is that possible?
Is it optimal to leave the issue unsettled and undefined? Is the best practice for advancing education one that requires students to change their learning approach in every classroom they learn in? And, I wonder, is there a deeper issue at play that emphasizes who should be in the center of the learning experience?