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December 1, 2007 / Ben Chun

Teaching Facebook

BJ Fogg and Dave McClure at Stanford really got it right with their class Creating Engaging Facebook Apps. It’s cool to see people building and testing curriculum this quickly at a top-tier university. I was just reading an interview with some of the students in the class and here is the money quote:

Since this course is listed in the computer science department, we assumed each lecture would have a technical focus. In reality, the lectures have instead been devoted to teaching the class the fundamentals of building engaging applications so that we can apply our new-found knowledge to a plethora of other disciplines. BJ has not given us the secret formula to creating a great Facebook application, but rather promoted a series of procedures that lead to user engagement in any field.

Two applications built in their class have over 1M installs, which basically puts them in the top 100 apps on Facebook. (You can get the stats at Adonomics.) Combine that real-world impact with the quote above showing that the students understand the wider implications of the skills and modes of thinking they are learning about, and you’ve got extremely effective education. How can I achieve this same level of efficacy in my high school classes?

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