Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ideas for Using Facebook as a Tool to Increase School Attendance

Ask the Innovative Educator... 
Jacob Gutnicki asked a question about using Facebook.  Below is my initial answer, followed by some great ideas from my Twitter followers.

 Jacob Gutnicki said...
Dear Lisa, one of my principals is toying with the idea of using social networking tools to improve student attendance. What are you thoughts on this? More specifically, how would you use social networking tools to improve student attendance?

The Innovative Educator said...
@Jacob Gutnicki, my initial thought is that is not what I would think of as a goal for Facebook. That scares me a bit. It sounds more punitive than supportive, even if that's not the intent.

My thought is that Facebook should be used to strengthen the home-school connection, the student-teacher connection, and support the ability to communicate, collaborate, and make a difference.

If the student - teacher connection was strengthened online and in life attendance might increase. For instance the students I spoke to in in 10 Ways Facebook Strengthens the Student-Teacher Connection loved they connected with educators on Facebook, but their teachers also ran marathons with them, coached basketball, led debate teams, etc. Every teacher did something and the kids loved that their teachers saw them as people. I think in the end that is what increases attendance.
But...I did tweet the question out and I'll let you know what I find.

Ask The Innovative Educator Tweeps...
Below is my question, then a lot of great ideas from my Twitter followers.  I’m glad I asked!

InnovativeEdu Lisa Nielsen
School principal is looking for ideas for using FB to increase student attendance. Any thoughts?
Answers from my Tweeps...
cyndyw2 cyndy woods-wilson
draw 3-5 names daily to post on the page, must be present to win. Keep FB page as read only, but kids must join to read
cyndyw2 cyndy woods-wilson
A school homepage where the kids follow, get extra credit for reading @ home + answering question from it next day in class.
bigjakelittle Jake Little
I like idea of FB as an extension of class, but how will that incrs. attendc? Need more engaging classes, support @ home.
BrightTeacher Amy Bright
Maybe use a team of students (social media team) in charge of FB page. Rotate kids into the team.
Kyle_simon Kyle Simon
How about teachers expressing interest/concern when students are absent?
MZimmer557 Michael Zimmer
maybe create a page dedicated to school attendance and share contest information or other programs?
jsquared2110 Jason Johnson
scavenger hunt at school before first period...send clues via fb...clues could lead to very minimal but positive
ICTmagic Martin Burrett
Run a breakfast FB club? 'Food and Facebook' & 'Toast and Twitter'?
web20guru Cheryl Capozzoli
Have students submit ideas for schooling and attendance issues via fb get the disc started include them in the solutions
CelinaPrincipal Jason Luebke
I would be interested in ideas you come up w/. Just started a FB pg for our HS and would like ways to interact w/ students more
Brian Gibson
New FB Groups enable teachers to use FB safely. To increase attendance I would be looking at using FourSquare instead.
ryan macraild
award points for collaboration using FB. screen shots would do. Unblock for attendance goals. Or just unblock it all together


  1. Thank you for sharing the results. I suppose if there was an easy answer to this questions, some of our schools would not be in the predicament that they are

  2. Honor the use of Facebook by creating a Page for you class, Use the tool to post and be open to the content they post, comment, respond and walk the walk. This engages students on their terms and gives value to their technology tools. Will this increase atendance? In terms of bricks and mortar, perhaps in time--but when I receive comments at 2AM I know I have their attention. Facebook as a Supplemental LMS=Locate My Students (intellectually and in terms of their passion, not in terms of facebook stalking!)here are some other thoughts I had on this topic that I shared with the international telecentre community http://www.telecentre.org/profiles/blogs/facebook-as-a-supplemental-lms