Teach Fifth Graders Facebook? Yes!

This week, fifth grade students have been working on a Facebook page for the One Ounce project, an effort to convince people to each reduce waste by one ounce per day. The objectives of this activity are to measure the dissemination of the One Ounce message to students and teachers and to gain a formal introduction to the Facebook platform. The Facebook “fan page” feature allows us to measure fans and interactions in a fairly direct way, allowing the kids to gain another measure of the success of their efforts. I also hope to demonstrate the effect of word-of-mouth sharing through social networks.

We have learned from our work with middle school students that engaging in constructive uses of Facebook is a vital component of education about social network sites. Students will not have their own Facebook accounts for this project. Facebook has an age limit of 13 years to register an account. Teachers will post all of the content, and students will view the content, the number of fans, and any likes and comments that individuals post.

So far, students have learned that Facebook accepts four forms of content by default: text, images, links, and videos. At first, most students wanted to publish videos, but more recently they have shifted to designing engagement strategies. We hope to encourage people to participate in the site and report on their own efforts to reduce waste.

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