Community Social and Economic Development Worker Louise Barbé has been part of the team at West Harton Churches Action Station for just over two years. As a ‘late starter’ with technology herself, she knows just how frustrating learning to use a computers and the internet can be. It’s her job to make things as easy as possible for the learners of West Harton!
Why did you look for this tool in the first place? What did you need help with?
I use Facebook as a learning tool for new starters who are nervous about using a computer for the first time as it helps them to become familiar with the keyboard. By sending messages to friends and seeing what other people have been up to they soon become more confident. They have so much fun they don’t realise they’re learning!
How did you find out about the tool?
I’ve had my own account since I was a student.
What is this tool mainly used for?
We use it to encourage learners to use their computer in between lessons to develop their skills.
Also, if you have a page for your project or organisation it’s a great way to let everyone know what you’re up to and how they can get involved.
What have been the benefits of using this tool to you?
As I've already explained it’s a great learning tool but also, as a small charity with limited funds, it’s enabled us to communicate effectively with centre users about our courses and events. We also promote partners’ events in the local community - so it’s been a good relationship builder tool too. When you’ve got an event to promote there’s no messing about with photocopying, postage or making endless telephone calls, you just post on your page and that’s that! It’s saved us a lot of time and money.
Is there any cost attached to using this tool?
None at all!
Did this tool need much of your time to set it up at the beginning?
To help learners create an account takes around 20 minutes. After that we support them during class time to add information and develop their profiles and understanding of Facebook. Maintaining our own page is really easy too.
Are there any limitations to using this tool?
None that I can think of!
Do you have any top tips for using this tool?
It’s a great tool if used correctly and privacy issues are highlighted to make sure learners don’t put themselves at risk. Just remember that it’s called social networking for a reason. You have to make the time to reply and respond to other people’s posts.
Do you have any other recommendations of tools that could help you do something similar?
Twitter is another great tool.