For those of you that aren’t aware, Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to send and receive messages directly from each other, then disappear once viewed (see How it Works here). Additionally, Snapchat offers users the ability to create stories that can be seen by any follower for 24 hours.
So why on earth would you want to integrate Snapchat into your classroom you ask?
To communicate and connect with your students in their preferred digital environments.
You’ll want to consider a few things first before you decide if Snapchat is a good fit in your classroom.
- Do you want to communicate using chat? Or using stories?
- What are the media messaging restrictions in your respective school boards?
- What parameters are you working within?
Stories provide a way for teachers to communicate content and allow students to access this information on their schedule.
Snapchat allows you to send a sequence of short “snaps” of video or images with the addition of text, bitmojis, drawings and geofilters, but instead of directing these to a particular group or individual, stories are published for your follower audience and are available for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, they expire, so students would have to explicitly follow the classroom or teacher and review the feed frequently to see the content.
An example of use would be for a teacher to post content when on a field trip such as sharing a series of videos and images from experience (Sloan, 2016). In higher ed or with older students the teacher could allow takeovers of the account and could be an excellent way to teach digital citizenship. Once parameters are set up, students have the ability to use the school account and engage with the community creatively.
Teachers can send snaps to students in groups to share reminders, congratulate or acknowledge successes and to describe real-world examples by posting images or videos with text overlay. In higher ed teachers will likely have more progressive policies.
Snapchat messaging is a user-directed way to communicate and may not be suitable for primary age communication (see Snapchat Terms of Service). Once you have determined the connection options, you can then determine which features of Snapchat you will use.
Students must follow the school or classroom and vice-versa to send images and video to each other. For older students, this can be a very engaging way to communicate with teachers and schools. For primary students (13 and older) this may not be available depending on school district privacy policies.
Classroom Content Sharing
One way for teachers to create relationships with their students is by connecting with them on digital media. Social media should not be forced on students, however, for those students who do use Snapchat this is a good way to share knowledge in an engaging way (Miller, 2016). Teachers can demonstrate how to use social media appropriately by modeling proper communication use with their accounts. When teachers use Snapchat to create a story related to the content in class, students may be more open to sharing their perceptions and interpretations of knowledge. Because the snaps expire quickly, you can be sure your students are paying attention to the content. The best way to approach this may be to provide your students your account info so they can follow you, as suggested by Madeline Will (Will, 2016). Madeline suggests you simply post stories and allow students to follow you, but to avoid encroaching on their personal profiles you would not follow students back.
Give Students a Rich Media Experience
It’s 7 am, and your students have an exam in 2 hours, some are just waking up, some are on the bus to school, and some are in the front seat of their Dads truck. Either way, they’re likely on their smartphones. What if you were on your phone too…sending snaps of questions and mini quiz content to get them pumped up for their test? Perhaps your students are learning a new language, why not have them take pictures of items and share the name of that object in the language they’re studying? Students and teachers can practice vocabulary and use images to define and demonstrate terminology learned in class (Lee, 2016). All of these are examples of how you can use Snapchat to create a rich media experience for your students. You can’t guarantee that all your students will view your snaps and stories, and you shouldn’t force them to, but for those interested in extending their learning into this medium, why not make it fun!
Do you use social media to communicate in your classrooms? If so, have you tried using Snapchat yet?
We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences below.
- Does Snapchat have a place in the classroom
- 3 Ways Snapchat can help schools engage with students
- Teachers are starting to use Snapchat are you?
Lee, J. (2016). 10 Seconds At A Time, A Teacher Tries Snapchat To Engage Students. NPR.org. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/03/29/467091289/how-teachers-are-using-snapchat
Will, M. (2016). Teachers Are Starting to Use Snapchat. Should You?. Education Week – Teaching Now. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2016/06/teachers_snapchat_guide.html
Sloan, C. (2016). It’s Time to Consider Snapchat’s Classroom Potential. KQED Learning. Retrieved 25 February 2017, from https://ww2.kqed.org/learning/2016/05/25/its-time-to-consider-snapchats-classroom-potential/