Facebook is a social networking site very similar to bebo and MySpace. For explanations of what they are, have a look on Wikipedia. I have always thought of these sites as being frivolous fun for children and teenagers, but it has struck me lately how huge these sites are and how many people use them, even 'grown ups'.
On Monday my daughter, Ellen, gave a presentation using Elluminate to explain what Facebook is and how it might work in education. She was of a mind that Facebook was 'fun' and that she didn't want to mix school/university with fun, which is an interesting idea in itself-can we not have fun at school!? Having said that, she could see it had possibilities for example, it could encourage networking to solve assignment questions. Ellen did feel that if teachers were going to use it for education, the framework of the group should be kept basic and professional ie not to add all the extras that can distract people. She also thought it might be quite time-consuming for teachers to keep up with all the happenings that go on in Facebook.
Sue Waters uses Facebook for interacting with her students. She feels it allows her to get to know her students and visa versa. I have mixed feelings about it. I think it's great as a personal tool for keeping in touch with people, having fun and finding people you have lost touch with. Ellen made me an account and I got sent a 'slippery nipple' but am yet to find out my stripper name! I am not so sure about using Facebook in midwifery education. I acknowledge that you only need add the people you wish to add but I am not sure I want students to have access to my personal 'silliness', but on the overhand it might add another dimension to our interactions that would be fun, especially for distance students. Probably, we need to go back to the students and find out what they would like and experiment over the next few years with the various tools to see what works best. In the meantime, I'm off to drink a virtual glass of chardonnay that was sent to me by my good friend Sandra - just wish it were real!