Six members of faculty and staff filtered into the PC Lab in the ARC (Academic Resource Center) at the beginning of lunch. Taking seats at the computers, they logged into Facebook before awaiting further instruction from their teachers: two students from the Class of 2012.
Facebook has become an icon of popular culture, and its widespread use among Marlborough students has grabbed the attention and curiosity of faculty and employees. In response, Kathryn ’12 and Kira’12 led a Facebook literacy class for faculty members on Oct. 18 and Nov. 4 during lunch. Together, they introduced the basics of the site, ultimately explaining to faculty why our generation has found it so important to have a Facebook account for social networking as well as basic communication. Kira and Kathryn explained how users can change security settings, send messages and tag images, and even gave a tour of the new timeline feature.
Director of Academic and Administrative Technology Stuart Posin proposed the idea this year after learning that other independent schools, such as Harvard-Westlake, have held Facebook classes for faculty. Posin said that he decided a class at Marlborough would be a good opportunity for a student-led discussion.
“The School strives to give all of the girls leadership opportunities, and this is one small example,” Posin said. “I have wanted to do something like this for a long time. I hope we will do more of it.”
Facebook is prominent on campus, especially now that girls are allowed to use mobile devices for non-voice activities when not in class. It is common to see girls in the ARC sitting with Facebook open on their computers while they work on homework, even if they are not necessarily engaged in the site, according to Associate Director of Administrative Technology Ida Dahan.
“Every time I log into my computer, I sign in to Facebook,” Dina ’12 said. “I had to buy software to block it for the times I need to study. I think it would be great for teachers to learn how we use Facebook because it’s like my e-mail. Nowadays, students aren’t just on the site for fun.”
While there was a small turn-out in the first session, the lunch period on Nov. 4 attracted a larger group; in the end, a total of ten faculty and staff attended at least one of the sessions, including Librarian Nichole Gomez and other ARC-based technology employees. “It was fun,” Dahan said. “Kathryn and Kira were great, and they covered a ton of topics.”
Kira and Kathryn said they found that the biggest topic faculty members wished to discuss concerned profile security.
“We discussed how to change privacy settings and tagging, for those of us who are paranoid,” Dahan said. “On that topic there were a ton of questions.”
While most of the teachers said they attended the class to learn more about Facebook, history instructor Tom Millar said he was most excited to encourage student-led activities.
“One of the reasons I went to the class was to support the idea of students teaching teachers,” Millar said.