Facebook For Education: Activate, Collaborate, Innovate

Since its inception in a Harvard dorm room to initially only being available to universities—Facebook, education, and innovation seem to go hand-in-hand. With the recent launch of its new Facebook for Education microsite, Facebook is showing that innovation is not just a part of its past, it is a part of its future. We recently connected with Adam Seldow, head of education product partnerships for Facebook, who shared:

“We’re excited to contribute to the future of education where Facebook is uniquely suited to help educators and learners make an impact; through supporting and growing inclusive learning communities both inside and outside of the school and university, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with virtual and augmented reality.”

Its newest educational initiative, CodeFWD is a free online three-step program that allows educators to introduce programming to fourth through eighth-grade students. Through the program, students will learn computer programming fundamentals, the power of computer programming, block-based coding, and basic control structures. Once all three steps of the program are completed, educators are encouraged to apply for a free Sphero BOLT Power Pack (a classroom set of 15 BOLT app-enabled robots valued at $2499).

With the goal of expanding access and participation of underrepresented students in computer science, Facebook hopes to “inspire a new generation of diverse tech innovators to build a future that benefits us all.”

CodeFWD is just one of many resources offered on education.fb.com. From computer science programs to social-emotional learning programs, Facebook aims to “enable people to activate around change, collaborate in more meaningful ways, and explore innovative new technologies.” See some of their top resources below:

Programs That Inspire:

Computer Science Education:

  • TechPrep. This Facebook-led initiative is supported by McKinsey & Company and was created for parents, guardians, and learners who want to understand more about computer science (CS) and programming.
  • Commitment to Code.org. In 2016, Facebook made a $15 million dollar commitment to Code.org to teach more young women and underrepresented minorities how to code.
  • TechStart. This tool aims to spark curiosity for computer science through the creative use of project-based tech experiences, allowing students from all backgrounds to evolve from consumers into creators.
  • Engineer for the Week. This three-week-long extracurricular program provides youth ages 13+ with practice using computer science (CS) skills while they explore the world of engineering.

Social & Emotional Learning:

  • InspirED. A hub for free resources designed by teens, educators, and SEL experts to empower students to work together to create more positive school climates and foster greater well-being in their communities.
  • Our Best Selves. In partnership with Scholastic, Our Best Selves is a compilation of six social-emotional learning lessons that guide students to better understand their emotions and build empathy for others.
  • Middle School Kindness Challenge. This unique collaboration among leading education organizations, distinguished teachers, and acclaimed researchers provides access to research-based tools and resources, free of charge, to those who want to incorporate kindness into the school day and make kindness a practical, commonplace skill.
  • Soapbox Nation. In partnership with Mikva Challenge, the Soapbox Nation engages thousands of young people in classrooms around the country in learning about how to create and advocate for solutions to improve their schools, communities and the lives of young people.

Products That Drive Connection + Collaboration:

  • Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app designed for kids to connect with close friends and family from their tablet or smartphone.
  • Workplace is an online team collaboration tool using familiar Facebook features such as groups, chat and video calls for work.
  • Facebook Groups have long been a feature for many users. They provide a space to communicate about a shared interest.
  • Social Learning Groups. A feature of Facebook groups, social learning groups allows group admins to create learning units, track results, and help build a community around learning.

Products That Drive Innovation + Transformation:

  • Oculus NextGen is a program designed to provide colleges and universities with Virtual Reality (VR) workshops, hardware, and introduction to the VR industry.
  • Oculus LaunchPad is a program designed to support promising VR content creators from diverse backgrounds, so they can take their unique ideas and bring them to the market.
  • Oculus VR for Good is an initiative designed to support content creators, impact innovators and inspire partners who see virtual reality as a way to make the world a better place.

With so many valuable resources for educators and students, Facebook for Education allows educators and students to get creative with their teaching and learning. Which resource do you believe is most beneficial? Let us know on twitter @Getting_Smart or in the comments below.

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