Facebook Messenger is a low-key classroom conferencing app – learn how to use it!

COVID19’s subtle threats

About 3 of 5 Filipinos use smartphones. This number is soon to rise by 2021. But not all Filipinos are capable of paid mobile data. When the COVID19 outbreak struck the Philippines and more students were displaced, classes became online. It became apparent that the equality brought about by cheap smartphones is surface level. Not all Filipino students have the money to keep their paid online activity to sustain self-paced learning through Google Classrooms, Zoom, or even Moodle. The only thing they have was a free of charge access to Facebook Messenger.

An opportunity for learning

Facebook Messenger’s group chat option has the potential to be used as a free conferencing and self-paced learning tool. As long as the facilitating teacher is very diligent in updating lessons and mediating class discussion as well as answering significant technical questions. Here are some tips on how to start an FB messenger lesson group chat:

  1. Name the Group Chat clearly and make sure that the students can easily find the chat name without a problem.
  2. Have a specific set of rules which will govern how the students will use the group chat. For example, it should include when the students can start asking questions and ask for clarification and how the students should pass their answers to assignments and quizzes.
  3. Give 1 image for each discussion page. However, even if you send in images make sure that the discussion is written clearly and must include whatever can be found in the image. Remember, free of charge FB messenger does not include downloading or viewing of images. This is where your ability to discuss the lesson clearly and vividly comes into play.
  4. Make sure that you give a short quiz and END the lesson.
  5. Allow the students to answer analytical and evaluative questions. Since the lesson can be read
  6. Give a clear schedule of when you’ll be sending out the next lesson.

This method has disadvantages too. Having to discuss the lesson through expounding and explain everything is very time-consuming. Students can easily read back the lesson and objective answers are easy to answer, thus it is essential to add evaluative and analytical questions. Aside from that, lessons or courses that would require solutions and illustrations to better understand do not work well with the text-only free FB messenger. This method has very good potential for introductory lessons and facilitated discussion.

All in all, FB Messenger Lesson Group Chat is just one of the many creative ways to support student learning in these very uncomfortable times. Teachers are highly encouraged to find creative, resourceful, and innovative ways to support their students.