Even if you aren’t on Facebook, chances are your students are… even those as young as third and fourth grade! Facebook’s policy states users must be 13 years of age or older, but just as many parents will disregard this requirement as children will lie about their age…yikes!
Despite its many potential pitfalls, though, Facebook is also a wonderful social network allowing people to connect with each other despite their geographical location. Now, teachers can safely incorporate this social networking in classroom projects using Fakebook.
Fakebook looks like the real Facebook, but isn’t a social network at all. Students have control of creating fictitious or historical characters as the Fakebook users, inventing unique profiles for each character, including profile picture, birthdate, and street address. Then students can add appropriate friends for their characters and imagine what would be posted on the Fakebook wall. Take a look at this one created for Winston Churchill by Glenn at History Tech:
So, now imagine assigning students to create a Fakebook for Hamlet. Horatio and Ophelia would definitely be friends, even Ophelia posting secretly-coded love notes and all. Perhaps the dead king’s ghost could even make an appearance, posting a music video of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” I can totally picture Hamlet’s anger towards his uncle as well as the spiteful greed he’d show when sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their ultimate doom!
So, Fakebook does have a place in the classroom, allowing students to be “social” in a safe environment. And, the discussion could also turn to what might be appropriate or inappropriate for Hamlet to write in a status update… students would have to think through possible consequences for the young Prince of Denmark. (Hidden lesson in there! Yes!)
And, if you are on Facebook, so am I and I’d love to chat with you there, too!