Facebook has been incredibly educational for me! For instance, how else would I have known that my buddy Kevin was cheating on Cindy with Melissa if not for my news feed? Also, consider Molly’s kid Terry — without Facebook, I wouldn’t have a CLUE that he finally learned to poop in the toilet. I also wouldn’t know that Kyle got “so turnt up lol” at last week’s kegger (oh, and he’s currently looking for a new job — if anybody has anything, just let me know in the comments).
Yes, Facebook can teach us lots of stuff, but most of the time, it’s nothing that we really want to know. But what about the real educational value of Facebook? Stuff that’s — oh, how do you say it — Educational (As opposed to the standard gossip fare)?
Believe it or not, it’s out there. Whether you are the parent of students, a student at a university, or just a student of life, we’ve got a few tips that will make your Facebook experience just a bit more valuable.
Search For Stuff
What I really like about Facebook is its integration with Wikipedia. While it doesn’t automatically work for everything, searching for a general term on Facebook shows you an excerpt from that term’s Wikipedia page with a link to its full page. With that said, if you search for anything, Facebook’s Graph Search will also do its very best to connect you to content that is Facebook-oriented.
Search for a term like “Jesus,” and you will most likely be connected to someone named Jesus or the list of many Facebook Pages titled “Jesus” in which the Wikipedia content is included. On the other hand, if you search for a general term like “cats,” then you will be connected to the related Wikipedia content easily.
Experience Other People’s Stories
Are you a fan of National Geographic? A&E? TLC? Basically, are you interested in people?
Facebook has got a Page for that, and it’s actually worth checking out. Titled Facebook Stories, the Page publishes unique mini-biographies in multiple media formats that are all about the social media site’s users. Ranging from detailed articles all the way to well-produced documentaries, you can view all types of content about people in general on this Page.
With Facebook Stories, you can learn about the other side of life — see what other people are doing outside your circle. Let’s be honest, though, this is essentially just PR for Facebook. By connecting with the community, Facebook becomes a part of the community. However, in this case, it’s actually pretty cool.
Facebook in Education
If you happen to be an educator, then the Facebook in Education Page may be a great resource for you to use. This Page offers a wide range of material associated with education that you can utilize for your classes. While the material here does not necessarily provide content for the learning portion of the spectrum, there are several tools to help make your job a little easier.
For instance, the Page’s news feed offers quite a bit of news and updates from the education world that come from a few different backgrounds. In addition to this, the Page’s Resources tab offers information on how to integrate social media with the classroom and even details on how to help your students become better “digital citizens.”
Research Your Circle
You can learn a lot from the people you already know, and using the resources already existing on Facebook, you can access this information quite easily. In the past, you could use Facebook to post polls or ask questions, but unfortunately, this feature was recently removed. Regardless, you can still use the simple status update feature for the same function.
You could still ask questions such as “How many sodas do you drink a day?” to learn about the health status of your community, or perhaps you could conduct personal research for something more practical, like “What type of dish detergent do you use?”.
Unfortunately, since the original short-lived poll feature was removed, this means you must now manually compile all your data. However, the status update is still a very useful tool, and you should definitely make use of it.
Like The Right Pages
I’m not a big fan of Facebook’s apps. They can be pretty obnoxious, and sometimes they aren’t entirely useful. However, there are Facebook Pages out there that can connect you to valuable educational material. Below are a few that a highly recommend:
Have you harnessed the ability to use Facebook as an educational platform? What other ways do you use Facebook as an educational tool?
We love to both teach and learn at MakeUseOf, so please share your knowledge with us in the comments!