You’ve probably noticed Facebook’s new live streams popping up all over the place in your feed. But have you thought about how to use Facebook live in the classroom?
Friends can take you live on roller coasters with them, show you baby animals being born at the zoo, or give you a cooking demonstration from halfway around the world. You can attend your niece’s birthday party virtually or watch your college friend cross the finish line of her first marathon.
You might be thinking … so what? You could already see all these videos before, they just weren’t live. What difference does the much-hyped live feature make for teachers?
The way I see it, there are three easy ways to use Facebook live to benefit your students.
1. Go Live Yourself
To go live yourself, all you need is a phone and a Facebook account, which most of us have anyways. There’s no investment. You just point the camera your way and click “go live.”
To begin interacting with students live, you’d probably want to open a teacher account or start a closed group within Facebook. And then a number of options open up.
You could go live before a big exam to conduct a review session. Students watching will be able to ask you questions and get answers right away.
You could go live inside a Facebook group for parents to let them know what’s going on in your classroom, perhaps taking them on a little tour and explaining how they can support your work.
You could live stream a field trip for your students on the weekend, showing them around an amazing museum, aquarium, or travel destination related to your curriculum.
2. Tune in to the Pros
Another way to incorporate live is to tap into what museums, scientific institutions, magazines, and newspapers are doing with it.
Think of all the different Smithsonian museums and the wide range of live shows they might feature in the next year. One of their recent live shows was a tour of the newest exhibits in the National Museum of American history. WeAreTeachers has been doing lots of FB Live events as well, which you can find here.
Of course, these streams won’t often line up with class hours, but you can watch the replay together, or assign students to watch and make a comment or ask a question if the live show is during non-school hours.
3. Find Inspiration for Your Teaching
Then there’s the potential to learn from another educator now and then on Facebook live. Though this tool is still so new, teachers around the world are starting to share their ideas with it.
Jen Jones hosts a weekly live show called Guided Reading. She shares specific tips and ideas for using guided reading time as fruitfully as possible.
The ELA Live Series is a new project I’m working on with fourteen other educators, will feature back-to-school inspiration every night from August 1-15 on Facebook live. Fifteen shows, fifteen different teaching strategies to try on for size this year.
The Brown Bag Teacher chats live from her little office about math centers, reading, and great professional development books. Her friendly and approachable manner has helped her build a huge community around her live streams.
Look for WeAreTeachers to do weekly live events in mid-August through September as well. We’ll be speaking with experts and teacher celebs from all over the country!
Bonus: Get Some Comic Relief
Last but not least, Facebook Live can provide you with some laughter and stress relief. Principal Gerry Brooks comes on live for hilarious short shows on themes like standardized testing for politicians, the lengths teachers will go to avoid their principals in the summer, and “teacher spotting” at the beach.
Whether you decide to power up your own camera or explore what others are doing with the live platform, Facebook live definitely opens up some intriguing new options.