Session 4A

Ashley Carmody- B. A. (University of Sussex) and CELTA

Session Title:
Closed Facebook Groups

Ceding control of a learning space to students is a daunting prospect for many teachers. Moving to virtual learning spaces is also still widely viewed with trepidation. This presentation seeks to allay fears in both of these areas and encourage teachers to welcome a little KAOS, loosen their grip on the reigns and allow students to actively participate in their own learning using closed Facebook groups. It also outlines some key class management benefits of this technology for teachers. The presentation will first, briefly, outline the rationale for Facebook use in the light of modern day learners and their existing behaviour patterns. The focus will then shift to real examples of interaction from closed Facebook groups and demonstrate the significant positive effects this virtual learning space has on student autonomy and control of the learning process by highlighting instances of students sharing ideas, resources and information. The presentation will then cover some key benefits to teachers including communication and tracking. The main aim of the presentation is to share positive experiences with Facebook and thereby encourage teachers to overcome any lingering inhibitions concerning control and technology and to embrace the benefits Facebook groups hold for their learners and themselves.

Ashley has nearly 20 years of ESL teaching experience covering general courses as well as a range of specific purposes including business, academic and exam-preparation courses. For the past seven years, Ashley has taught ELICOS courses at La Trobe Melbourne, where he has acted as academic coordinator, contributed to materials development and offered professional development sessions both internally and at Victoria branch EA events. Ashley’s main areas of interest include peer assisted learning, learner autonomy and mobile learning.