We shall begin by defining what Communities of Practice (CoPs) are. According to Professor Etienne Wenger, CoPs are groups of people who have a common interest in a particular domain, interact regularly, and learn from/with each other. They exit online and can be created specifically with the goal of gaining knowledge related to a specific field. Many CoPs have been created in the most popular social networking sites, such MySpace or Facebook.
Students, who are highly likely to use the Internet for chatting, sending emails, viewing images or watching videos, do this commonly through these social networking sites. Therefore, why cannot Facebook be used with educational purposes?
Facebook has become one of the most highly used networking sites in the world and due to its expansion, more and more teachers are beginning to incorporate it into their teaching practices. Of course there are many factors that are both positive and negative when Facebook is considered to be used as a classroom tool. Nevertheless, if it is used effectively and carefully, it can easily enhance classroom learning and help build positive interactions between students and teachers as the teaching/learning process develops.
It is extremely interesting to mention that the origin of this popular social networking site is educative. It was created in 2004 by a student at Harvard University, Mark Zuckerberg, in order to communicate with other students within Harvard's campus. The site was an instant success and it went public a year after, having more than 60 million active users worldwide.
Due to the fact that in today's fast growing society more and more children and young people are relying heavily on electronic sources to learn and communicate, Facebook is, hence, a great way to incorporate education with technology. We teachers can use it to encourage online discussion among students, to provide links to educational resources or to send and post materials. It also allows an easier and faster way to connect out of the classroom or the class itself, so students can talk to teachers online about any questions or concerns they might have. Thus, Facebook is an invaluable asset for education
My colleague, Jesus Bastidas, has created a group in Facebook called Inglés en UCV. It is still under construction, but it is a great beginning.
http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?id=526798784&gv=2#/profile.php?v=info&ref=search&id=1381118827. Way to go Jesus!