Facebook is a company. They are primarily concerned with building revenue. But let’s tweak the picture here.
People have been talking about the Facebook-ization of education. They say they want a viral education platform that allows for widgets or apps for education to be easily transportable to anywhere, to any student, or anyone that considers themselves a learner.
I think they say that because Facebook is successful, so that’s primarily what they know.
But there are other reasons to think of education as being like a Facebook.
This video tells you a few things about Mark Zuckerberg and the culture of Facebook. When you pay attention to what he says, there are really some fundamental issues at the heart of his business methodology: people, decisions, mistakes, core groups, and learning. I don’t see how this is that much different than education as a whole.
I am not saying that education should mimic business. Educators have their own visions, and students should be able to range around in their developing years to find visions of their own, but there is so much to be learned from the following points found in this video:
1. Focus on a core group of people — your micro-community — and learn from them. Make mistakes with them. Reach out to the outside in a collective way to determine your next steps.
2. Pull parts of the larger social graph you work and live in together. Reach outside, partner with people who have more expertise than you do, and learn from them. Give them something they want, and they will give you something you want.
3. Make mistakes, but make them honestly. Is education much like today’s social media landscape? Can students honestly make mistakes and not be penalized in the way that it takes them out of social participation? When Zuckerberg launched new privacy settings, it really made people angry. He says about ten percent of the user base lobbied for a change to the changes, and they listened. But they didn’t stop making use of Facebook. They now, says Zuckerberg, review the settings in Facebook and make changes according to their preferences.
What does that have to do with education? What if you had a transparent and visible set of preferences for education? What if you were graded not so much on whether you reached a level of achievement, but a level of social usefulness? What if you were able to tweak your own system or culture, by participating in it with others? Wouldn’t that be its own level of success?
Watch the Zuckerberg video and tell me if you could find a way to make education more like a Facebook, or more useful to you and your peers by openly sharing and personalizing what you know and how you want to know. I think it can be done.