Is Facebook the new Study Hall?

This is an app my teenager can use when doing her Calculus homework (you won't find me anywhere near that subject!). Anyone try on Facebook? Here's what it does:, a Facebook application that turns the social networking site into “study mode.”
Like other Facebook apps, keeps you inside Facebook but moves you away from your wall and news feed. Instead of the typical Facebook prompt, “What’s on your mind?” asks its users “What are you working on?” From there, students can join the live study sessions on that topic.
These sessions can use group video-conferencing, which Facebook itself doesn’t yet offer, as well as the “smart chat” function. Smart chat allows you to type mathematical formulas in English, which are then automatically translated into mathematical notation. A screen-sharing option is coming soon, too. also saves and archives the study sessions so that people can search for answers in other, older study sessions.
Source: via
This type of app raises the question, again, as to whether schools are getting their money's worth out of what they're trying to use to foster collaboration among students and teachers, rather than taking advantage of existing technologies! I've seen (and participated) in programs to try to improve homework hotline connections, but and Facebook might be the ultimate "homework hotline" that facilitates collaborations between students.

Fran Smith (Edutopia) reminds us that social media like Facebook and can be used for "academic networking:"
We need to teach kids the powerful ways networking can change the way they look at education, not just their social lives. We don't talk enough about the incredible power of social-networking technology to be used for academic benefit.
Of course, I like her point below....
Administrators have to facilitate change. A lone teacher can do it, but it's hard to sustain... Lots of teachers are doing it on their own, but it can be exhausting. That's classroom 2.0, not school 2.0.
Why should we be spending time modeling this in schools? Lest you think PARENTS will provide guidance on this topic, just as they have ably done for teen pregnancy and pre-marital sex, consider the following quote:
Van Cleave wrote a book called "Unplugged" about digital addiction. He says many parents don't know that their kids are splitting homework time between their books and their Facebook page.
"We used to have latchkey kids, but now we have digital maniacs and parents don't even know it," he says. (Source)
How many kids are using Facebook for studying, though? And, will using Facebook for studying (or homework help) be equivalent to other "social networks" designed for studying?
  1. OpenStudyOpenStudy is a social learning network where students ask questions, give help, and connect with other students studying the same things. This allows you to connect via Facebook.
  2. LiveMochaLivemocha is the world’s largest online language learning community, offering free and paid online language courses in 35 languages to more than 10 million members from 196 countries around the world. This allows you to connect via Facebook.
  3. Homework Paradise - Homework Tutoring service. This allows you to connect via Facebook.
What do you think? Is Facebook the new study hall?

Social networking has increased the rate and quality of collaboration for students. They are better able to communicate meeting times or share information quickly, which can increase productivity and help them learn how to work well in groups. (Source:
If you could use Facebook to collaborate at work, would you? What kind of work do you do anyways?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Amanda Killough said…
My name is Amanda and I am in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I found your post extremely intriguing. Being not only a student but raising two children in this technology age I must stay on top of things like this. I was amazed to find out something like this was even offered. I was talking to my husband the other night and told him I sure do wish there was a facebook for study groups and now I find out that there is! I look forward to finding out more about this "Facebook Study Hall" . Thanks for your wonderful post!
@Amanda, thanks for your comment! It's amazing how much everything is changing and the possibilities are endless. Fortunately, time and space keep us moving slower, giving us time to process.

That's the benefit of technologies like Fbook study hall apps...they enable us to communicate, collaborate quickly on ideas that require us to tread carefully.

With appreciation,

P.S. Was this blog entry required reading?

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