Facebook profile pix: a fun class project

Picnik: Auto-fix your photos, and lots more!

Here’s a class project I suggested the other day and which teens loved (thanks, Sandra, for feedback!).

  • In class, 15-16 year olds looked at real examples of their Facebook profile pictures, with a view to using Edmodo (not Facebook, which is less private).
  • At home, they did a web search for ideas on what makes a good social media profile picture
  • In class, they presented their results (some using Prezi to accompany their oral presentation)
  • In class, and later at home, they took better profile pictures, which they edited and improved further, using Picnik)
  • At home, photos were added to their new Edmodo profiles

It was then Sandra’s idea to take the project further:

  • In class, her original class presented their web search results and new photos to another class (with another teacher), one two years younger (also using Prezi)
  • In class, the older learners helped the younger ones take profile pictures of each other
  • At home, the younger learners then uploaded their photos to their Edmodo profiles (and quite a few, apparently, also to Facebook!)

The cameras were compacts belonging to the students, and 5-7 were available, for groups approx. 25 in size.

Technologically, it was real easy for the teacher to set up and run, the kids loved it and they got a lot of language use and learning out of it. Great project!

Facebook makes you stupid?

An unnamed US study reckons 68% of school pupils using Facebook got "significantly lower" exam marks than those who didn't, according to The Week, the study referred to probably being that of Ohio State, according to TIME.

What it doesn't say — though I haven't personally read the actual report — is whether or not the exams themselves were actually testing what the learners know, or were relevant to their learning styles or actual real-world needs, and I suspect that quite possibly they weren't.

I might just be tempted to use Facebook rather than e-mail as a means of communication with learners as — says my daughter (13) — no-one ever uses e-mail now, at least not young learners.

What would put me off would be the privacy issues. While creating a new Facebook profile recently, I got asked did I want to be friends with these 25 people — all of whom looked suspiciously young, and none of whom I recognised…

Hold on, I did recognise them: they were all 13, all girls, and all my daughter's friends. If you're going to use technology with young learners, you want a network that is a whole lot more secure than that…