Many teachers have been using Facebook in creative ways to notify, inform, and engage their students, yet it is wide open to your entire personal life. Yes there are privacy settings that can be applied to keep a section of your life private to your students if you choose, but this becomes quite a task to keep track of all of the "friends" that are not supposed to see your entire profile or picture albums.
Have you ever considered edmodo? It is an entire social networking site that looks a lot like Facebook, but it is something completely different. http://www.edmodo.com
Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices. The goal of edmodo is to help educators harness the power of social media to customize the classroom for each and every learner.
Edmodo even has a free mobile app that provides a very powerful way to interact with the social network site. One of the features that edmodo provides is a "poll". Here you can have instant results when students lock in their opinion on a class vote. Students can use their mobile devices, even iPod Touches (which many grade 5 & 6 students seem to have nowadays).
There is even a full gradebook feature of edmodo for your assignments and quizzes. It is nicely organized, allowing you to check on the results of the latest quiz or assignment you have graded for each of your students.
Key Features that I like about edmodo so far....
- I love the safe environment for comments shared between students. Student comments are await moderation from you, as the teacher, before they get posted. This allows you to keep the social environment safe from negative comments or any type of cyber bullying.
- I really like the "Poll" feature. I can envision allowing my students to use their iPods in class to take a vote on things. I can instantly display the results and interact with this site on my Smart board in class.
- The "quiz" feature is great. All true/false and multiple choice questions are graded automatically and it even allows you to grade and provide a comment for the short answers the students write.