Friend me, friend a new way to learn

December 31, 2010|Lisa Prejean

My son recently helped me set up a Facebook account.

Yes, I know I am behind the times. I just haven't taken the time to become part of this social networking phenomenon until now.

What prompted the change?

Perhaps it was Mark Zuckerberg being named Time magazine's Person of the Year.

No, I only gave that a cursory glance. (But can you believe the creator of Facebook is only 26?)

Maybe it was the reviews that the movie "The Social Network" received.

Actually, that wasn't a motivator for me. I haven't seen the film.

A company's promise of awarding grants to schools with Facebook campaigns could have prompted me to become involved. But, alas, our school was overlooked for the big city schools that had thousands of people on Facebook. At least we tried to acquire the funding.

It was intriguing to read reports on flash mob organizers who arranged through Facebook to give impromptu mall food court performances of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." I wish I could have been a part of the local one, but it was occurring as my friends and I were in the midst of dress rehearsal for our church's cantata. Oh, well, you can't do everything.

Facebook is popular among my children's friends, my students and their parents.

While I've sent many friend requests to the parents of my students, I felt uncomfortable sending requests to students or former students. I don't want them to feel like I'm invading their privacy.

However, if they request me as a friend, I will add them to my friend list.

I like feeling connected to others.

What truly motivated me to enter the world of Facebook, though, transcends those possibilities.

I see Facebook as a teaching tool.

As I shared this with my 15-year-old, he shook his head.

"Ah, Mom, no one will read your wall."

I knew that probably wasn't a good thing, but my first thought was "What wall?"

I soon found out as my son walked me through the basics of Facebook.

The wall is where Facebook consumers post "What's on Your Mind?" comments. A person's friends can see what is posted.

Because words are often on my mind, why not use this opportunity to instruct?

No, my son insisted. Facebook is not about learning. It is about fun.

Why not make learning fun, I countered? Everyone wants to feel smart, so why shouldn't I share grammar, usage, punctuation and spelling tips on my wall? (I don't know about you, but I feel really good about having a wall I can call my very own.)

My son is skeptical, but I think he'll come around.

My mother also lacks enthusiasm. She wants to know how I'm going to have time for this. I explained to her that Facebook is quicker than opening separate e-mails from all your friends. You can just scroll down, quickly read through all the postings and catch up in a glance. Isn't that one of the main reasons for the creation of Facebook?

At least, that's how I think it works. As with all technology, when others have broken the ground, I'm willing to give it a try.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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