Got into an interesting discussion last week with a couple of faculty members who are just coming to Facebook for the first time. They have been receiving notifications from former students who have their email address in their address book when they upload them to Facebook. Usually the invitation to the faculty by the student is an inadvertent side effect of the Facebook bulk email address upload, and the students are often embarrased that the faculty person got a request from them. Which lead us into discussing whether or not students really want us in “their space”?
While there is a lot of excited clamoring in the edtech blogsphere about the potential of Facebook as a personal learning environment (me included), it seems to me there is a reluctance by students to have us that closely entwined in their life. I’m beginning to suspect that students see a real disconnect between their life and their education. Facebook is not where they go to learn. It’s where they go to socialize, relax and throw virtual food at each other.
Earlier today I was doing a Technorati search using my insitution as a search term to see if there were any incoming students blogging about the school and came across this posting on MySpace from an incoming student who is none too impressed that one of our faculty has sent her an invite to join a Facebook.
Granted, her frustration seems to be more of the “this Facebook thing has gone too far” as opposed to “this is an intrusion where I don’t want it”, but you still have to suspect that there will be students who see MySpace as just that- their space. And whether they throw the doors open and invite us educators in with open arms remains to be seen. But I won’t be surprised if some students balk at blurring the lines between “school life” and “personal life”.