We report on a multi-method study that seeks to explore if, how and why secondary teachers use Facebook (FB) to interact with their students. Issues of privacy, authority, and even abuse have fueled socio-political debates on the desirability of teacher-student FB contact, leading some authorities to curtail or even prohibit such contact. Proponents of harnessing Web 2.0 and Social media technology for learning purposes, on the other hand, have emphasized the many potential advantages for formal and informal learning. However, there is little empirical research on the scope, the nature and the purposes for secondary school teacher-student contact through social network sites. The present study makes a first step in this direction, by triangulating teacher survey data (N = 187) with in-depth teacher interviews (N = 11). Findings from both data sets show that teacher-student FB contact comes in different forms and serves a range of purposes, which fall into three main categories: Academic-instructional, psycho-pedagogical and social-relational. Advantages, dilemmas and limitations of FB contact with secondary school students are identified.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We are grateful to the participating teachers for sharing their views and experiences with us, to Karin Hafuta and Lido Solomon who assisted in the data collection and to Baruch Schwarz, Yaakov Ophir and Edith Bouton for their insights on this research. The research presented here was conducted with the financial support of the German-Israeli Foundation (grant 116-105.4/2010 ) and the Mofet Institute .
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- Social network sites