Is Technology Affecting the Way Children Sleep?

Technology is helping our children to dream bigger during the day, but is it hindering their sleep at night?

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by Joshua Charpentier

Some research suggests, that kids who accessed social media devices regularly before bedtime reported sleeping nearly an hour less on school nights than those students who rarely connected online. When children don’t get enough sleep they can become cranky, moody, and can run the risk of developing a host of physical and behavioural problems. With more and more children becoming “connected” at younger and younger ages, sleep specialists are starting to see links between screen time – the use of computers, cellphones, T.V., and social media devices – and poor sleep hygiene.

Researchers from the University of Sydney determined that there is a dose-response relationship between the use of electronic devices in bed prior to sleep and sleep patterns in children. Children who overused media devices (computer, cellphones, and T.V.) experienced delayed sleep onset, decreased sleep duration, increased sleep disturbances, and difficulties achieving and maintaining sleep.

How does screen time impact sleep?

Dr. Daniel Willingham, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Virginia, says that screen time can hamper sleep in four main ways:

  • Biological changes in adolescence – The hormones melatonin, which makes you sleepy, and cortisol, which is responsible for wakefulness are internal biological cues that establish the sleep/wake cycle. These hormone levels can change in a child as they go through adolescence. That means that the internal signals about when one should be sleepy and when one should be awake are weaker in teens than young children. This weakness in melatonin and cortisol signals means that teenagers are more susceptible to external cues such as light and sound that is keeping them awake.
  • Time of use – Frequent technology use near bedtime is associated with significant adverse effects on multiple sleep parameters. The use of electronic media can lead to delays in a child’s bedtime, decreased sleep duration, difficulty falling asleep, and daytime sleepiness.
  • Content – Engaging the brain in active or provocative events through video gaming, movie or television watching, or communicating through social media can make it more difficult for children to go to sleep. Also, evening T.V. viewing in children is associated with delayed sleep onset and daytime drowsiness.
  • Light emissions – Light from electronic devices (LED displays) may confuse the natural circadian rhythmic cycles in the body. These cycles regulate the body’s ability to fall asleep and wake up. Exposure to external (blue-wavelength) light increases alertness and suppresses the release of the hormone melatonin, which is a key factor in regulating sleep.

How can parents help children sleep?

Parents need to be aware of how and when a child is accessing an electronic device or social media. Changes can be made and could have far reaching physical, psychological, and behavioural benefits for the child.

  • Remove the screens – Arianna Huffington, author of the best-selling book, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time”, is calling all of us, young and old, to bed. She recommends that our sleeping environments should be void of electronic devices and distractions. A sanctuary where sleep is treated with respect and ritualistically. It is through this habitual process that people can establish strong routines and practice healthy sleep hygiene.
  • Stick to a consistent routine – Letting your child stay up late on weekends is a tempting proposition. Children learn how enjoyable it is to stay up later and gives them the desire to stay up late on other nights. Establish a strong routine that requires your child to go to bed at the same time every night of the week. Maintaining a consistent wake time is also as important as an established bedtime when “sleep training” your child.
  • Remove distractions – Removing access to technology at least one hour before bed is a good rule of thumb for establishing healthy sleep hygiene practices. Performing other low-cognitive activities like playing cards, reading, writing or drawing on paper can aid with the onset of sleep. This rule should apply to all members of the family, regardless of age, to help all in the family get a good night’s sleep.

What are teachers supposed to do?

For the past several years, a pilot program in three Montreal elementary schools, led by Dr. Gruber from McGill University, developed a school-based sleep promotion program geared towards students. Results of this study were published in the May (2016) edition of the journal, “Sleep Medicine”. The intervention involved a six-week sleep curriculum program for children, to teach them about healthy sleep habits. Materials were provided to parents, teachers, and school administrators, who were then asked to consider the demands that are put on students through school schedules, extracurricular activities and homework, and what the impacts could be on sleep.

The children who were placed in the intervention group extended their sleep by an average of 18.2 minutes per night, and sleep onset decreased by an average of 2.3 minutes. These results may seem modest, but there was a marked improvement in English and Math scores amongst the intervention students in comparison to the control group who’s sleep duration did not change, and their grades did not improve.

Something to consider

For most school-aged children, this appears to be an issue of habits and routine, technology exposure and limit-setting. We adults know that we do not get as much sleep as we should, or that we do not practice healthy sleep hygiene routines. Have we removed the screens from our bedrooms? Have we created a regular routine or avoid technology before going to bed? Sleeping habits and routines should be a family priority, and is a good way to get everyone focused on what matters: waking up rested and ready to tackle the day, in mind and body.

Are there habits and routines that you use to establish and maintain healthy sleep practices in your house? What are your feelings and opinions about technology use before bed? Provide some feedback in the section below.

3 Roadblocks in Teaching Technology to Educators

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Technological tools can be used in many ways to further student learning. The continued growth and innovations in educational technology are both exciting and challenging.

With the development of 21st-century technology, it is important to provide quality professional development (PD) for administrators and staff members in schools.  As there is an increasing amount of innovative technology being introduced, school boards must ensure that employees are not only familiar with the technology, but also become comfortable learning more about it independently.

In today’s classroom, the teachers really are life-long learners. This is not only a nice idea, it is a must! In many cases, staff are introduced to these tools during meetings or professional development sessions. In my experience, even when tools are introduced and explored, there follows a period where some staff engage in trying to use the new tools, while many do not.

What are some of the barriers in training staff members with new technology? What are causing the roadblocks in the pathway from introducing the technology to implementation? How can they be removed?

Lack of Context, Lack of Connection

According to Plair (2008), one of the reasons that teachers struggle with implementing technological tools is that they miss the connection between what they have learned in training sessions and how to use it in their own specific teaching areas (p. 71). She indicates that some educators still struggle with changing their prior understanding to see that technology is no longer something mainly explored in the computer lab or Communication Technology courses.

One solution is mentioned by Plair. “Helping teachers comfortably reach this stage calls for the professional development available through a knowledge broker.” (p.71)

This knowledge broker, within school boards or organizations, would possess a “…combination of pedagogical, content, and technological knowledge…” and could “…more effectively and efficiently scaffold instruction, match tools to content, and keep pace with innovations” (p.73). An expert such as this could help bridge the gap between the new tools and the classroom teacher through offering one-on-one support.

 Lack of Time

Educators are heavily involved with the everyday tasks of running classes, planning lessons, supervising, marking, communicating with parents and running extra-curricular activities. Because of the sheer number of tasks requiring the focus and attention of the teacher, adding any new knowledge, skills or technological training can overwhelm and discourage.

Not surprisingly, the results of a study completed by McRae, Phil, Varnhagen, Stanley, & Arkison, Bradley in 2011 found that “…competing demands on time are the most significant factor restricting a teacher’s ability to provide instruction. (McRae et al., 2012)

If teachers are already burdened with other responsibilities, their willingness and ability to connect with PD on modern technology is diminished.

What could be done to provide more time or assistance?

 Information Overload

Aside from the busyness of each instructional day, a major barrier for teachers in increasing their knowledge of technology is one of sheer volume. According to a study by Lawless and Pellegrino (2007), “Long term change through technology-infused pedagogy is…complicated by the ever-evolving nature of the technology itself.” (p.607)

As teachers become comfortable with one technology, other new and exciting tools emerge. This may cause increasing stress, leading to a break-down of innovative teaching and learning in the classroom. According to an article by Dr. Willis (2014), this stress negatively affects the brain’s ability to learn. What is true for our students under stress is true for us too!

 What else could be done?

It is safe to say that teachers who genuinely care about their students have a desire to improve their own practice to help them succeed. They will continue to learn and attend professional development seminars, often voluntarily.  Those who attend PD to gain new knowledge to aid their pedagogy and practice show notable satisfaction in learning and teaching technology (Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007).

Much is seems to be written about the need to engage our students in 21st century learning. Could not more be done to support the frustrated, overwhelmed teacher?

Dr. Willis (2014) suggests that better learning and engagement takes place when positive motivation is present. That may be something to think about.

 

References

Willis, Judy (July 18, 2014). The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning. Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/neuroscience-behind-stress-and-learning-judy-willis

Lawless, K. A., & Pellegrino, J. W. (2007). Professional development in integrating technology into teaching and learning: Knowns, unknowns, and ways to pursue better questions and answers. Review of Educational Research, 77(4), 575-614. doi:10.3102/0034654307309921

McRae, Phil, Varnhagen, Stanley, & Arkison, Bradley (June 4, 2012). Teaching any time, any place or at any pace. ATA Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20Magazine/Volume%2092/Number-4/Pages/Teaching-any-time.aspx

Plair, Sandra Kay. (2008). Revamping professional development. The Clearing House, 82(2), 70-74. Retrieved from   http://marianrosenberg.wiki.westga.edu/file/view/PlairSRevampingProfessional.pdf/372909202/PlairSRevampingProfessional.pdf

 

Get your Students Coding with CodeCombat

Learn programming through live coding in an immersive multiplayer strategy game.

Written by: Josh Charpentier

Overview

Description

CodeCombat is a gaming platform that allows users to learn computer sciences. Users explore this web-based sword-and-sorcery game by programming characters with Python or Javascript coding languages. These programming platforms allow players to command their on-screen warrior, ranger, or wizard into action, navigating the character through the level, engage in battle, and destroying foes. Gamers are rewarded for devising clean programming solutions. However, if the user writes a buggy code or fails to find an appropriate solution, their character will wander through the level or could be destroyed by an enemy. This results in the player investing in trial and error strategies, experimentation, and collaboration with peers to find solutions. The player can also access in-game video tutorials to learn new coding strategies.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Students learn and develop skills in computer science and web development.
  • CodeCombat motivates children to learn programming languages through a fun and engaging platform.
  • The important principles of coding and the step-by-step introduction of the syntax of various programming languages aids in students becoming proficient in computer science and web development.

Access Details and Cost

Free Version

  • Clicking on the Play Now button allows the user to create a character and start coding without creating an account. User progress will NOT be recoverable if the user leaves the game.
  • An individual can create a free account, by clicking here. This will allow the user to maintain in-game progression when re-entering the game.

Paid Version (Teacher and Classroom Users)

  • A teacher can create a classroom account. Each student is assigned a license and classroom code for logging into the system. The student would click on the I’m a Student button and then enter the classroom code to gain access to the game.
  • The first course (20 levels) offered to classrooms is free. However, additional courses can cost $25-$50 CAD per student per year depending on which course licenses the teacher wishes to purchase.
  • The pay for access site offers extra levels and in-game video tutorials.
  • The teacher will have access to resources and course guides to help students with programming.

Paid Version (Individual User)

  • For $9.99 US/month individual users can create an account, access premium levels, receive weekly challenges, and have email support from professional programmers.

Getting Started

Teaching Ideas

The following teaching activities can be applied to any class ranging from grades 2-12.

Idea 1 – Coding Competitions (Game Development, Computer Sciences and Mathematics)

Use CodeCombat to create coding competitions. Students will be divided into equal teams. Within their teams, students will write code for a level entitled Wakka Maul. Students will use mathematical concepts to develop code, observe how the code fares against their classmates, and then students will make improvements and resubmit.

Idea 2 – Engineering Challenge (Computer Sciences and Mathematics)

Engineering is all about tackling problems, but the first rule of engineering is that you might not get it right the first time through. Use CodeCombat to teach students about the Engineering Cycle of thought. First, students will DESIGN a solution to a problem that is presented by the teacher on the level Power Peak. Students will identify the issues and break it down into smaller parts. This includes problem-solving and finding mathematical patterns in code. Then students IMPLEMENT their design, which is putting their ideas into action. Third, they TEST their solution. Does it work? Is the problem resolved? If the test fails, students have to decide if it was because of the design or the implementation of their program. Students can discuss issues openly and collaborate on finding solutions.

Idea 3 – Reflective Writing (English and Computer Sciences)

Students can write reflections about their progression through the CodeCombat levels. The teacher can also encourage students to use coding vocabulary that has been gained through different levels of the game. The teacher could have students contemplate questions, like:

  • Do you know more code now than in the beginning? What skills do you have now that you didn’t have before?
  • What advice would you give someone just starting out in CodeCombat?
  • What kind of strategies do you use when you encounter an obstacle?

Idea 4 – Headlines and Headers (Web Development and English)

CodeCombat offers courses in web development. Students can apply their skills to writing in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Students can write a paragraph regarding any topic, and then they can apply the elements like <p>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6> to the left margin of their writing. Students can then apply additional elements of basic syntax, headers, images, and organization to design a webpage. Once students have placed the desired elements into their work, webpages are automatically published to a custom URL so that students can easily share their finished work with others.

Idea 5 – Boss Level (Computer Sciences, Mathematics and English)

Students will work collaboratively to find a creative way of defeating this boss. Students also have to apply skills in mathematics and computer sciences to develop solutions for collecting coins, hiring mercenaries, and to heal their hero (character). Students can work in pairs and they can share their strategies and tips with other teams. Students can make observations about the level on grid paper before tackling this level, and then teams can plan out their solutions.

Helpful Resources


About the Author

Josh Charpentier has been an elementary school teacher for 10 years. He has taught in the Bronx, New York, and is currently working for the P.V.N.C.C.D.S.B. in Peterborough, Ontario. He started the graduate program at UOIT in 2013 and has been completing his Master of Education degree as a part-time student for 4 years. From his experience in elementary school, he definitely sees the potential benefits of introducing computer sciences and web development teachings to students in elementary classrooms and is a proponent of technology integration in education.

email: joshua.charpentier@uoit.net   Twitter: jjncharpentier

Quizlet: Do You Need It? You Decide!

Study on the go, challenge your friends and engage your students with a fun and mobile quiz application.

Overview

Quizlet is an online study tool available on any device (desktop, iOS, and Android) for students and teachers to practice learning in an engaging way. Any age group of students can use Quizlet either in class, individually or with friends (see how they started).

Key Benefits:

    • Study on the go with Quizlet.
    • Encourage students to take ownership of their learning.
    • Promote in-class engagement using Quizlet Live.

Getting Started

To appreciate the benefits of using Quizlet, you will have first to create a study set and determine how you will deliver the content to the class using the many different study mode options. Below are two videos to help you get started using Quizlet.

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1 – Visual Knowledge Practice (K-12/Higher Ed)

Placing an image in any Quizlet study mode allows the student to review a picture and define what it is they see. An example would be a series of famous paintings from a particular art period where students are required to identify characteristics of the era or movement. The quiz could prompt them to determine the name of the artist’s style, the period, the artist’s name and name of the work. Students can add levels of complexity to their quiz questions as their knowledge on the subject evolves.

Idea 2 – Audio Knowledge Practice (General/K-12)

Using Spell study mode, students can review and test their vocabulary knowledge and “type what they hear” when they hear the audio. Users can also set up Quizlet to read descriptions of an object and have the student identify what it is that they hear labeled. Listening to audio allows students with accessibility challenges to participate and for all students to strengthen their listening skills.

Idea 3 – Vocabulary Strengthening (General/K-12)

Students studying vocabulary can review definitions or attributes of a word or phrase using Quizlet Flashcards. Images can be used to support student memory through repetition delivered in a fun game (remember images are only available in the paid versions). Adjectives can be provided to help students identify the word (noun) associated with the attribute. Students can use descriptive keywords in any language and can assist in strengthening their comprehension. Teachers can create their study sets or choose to explore other educator’s quizzes. Students are also able to search existing quizzes that may support their learning or decide to set up their own.

Helpful Resources

Quizlet.com | How Can Teachers Use Quizlet
A step-by-step guide to setting up your class on Quizlet

Edshelf.com | Quizlet Review
Video: Educator’s overview of Quizlet used for a secondary English class

Ditchthattextbook.com | Game Show Classrooms
Educator’s review of Quizlet, Kahoot and Quizalize features

PCMag.com | Quizlet Review
The pros and cons of using Quizlet

Cost

Free Version

  • Quizlet is available for free with a variety product features. Quizlet for free is available for desktop, mobile (iOS and Android) and is also available as a Google Chrome app.

Paid Version

  • Quizlet Plus is available for $19.99 USD/1 Year or 2 and 3-year discounted subscriptions. Quizlet Plus enables users to create their voice recordings, add their images, study over time with Long-Term learning and study ad-free.
  • Quizlet Teacher is available for $34.99 USD per year. School discounts are available for multiple users and larger groups. Quizlet Teacher enables teachers the ability to add their voice recordings, images and search teacher-created content. Additionally, teachers can use features for managing multiple class activity and student progress. Teachers with a Quizlet Teacher account will receive a specialized “Teacher” badge next to their user name, which means faster support when you need it.

Transformational Leadership: A key to Integrating Technology in Education

Leadership can make or break a technology initiative in your school. Strong leadership is key to any initiative through communication, collaboration, planning, creativity, trust, and experimentation.

A barrier to the adoption of technology in education is a lack of vision and weak leadership. For educational professionals to take full advantage of technology, strong leadership to create and guide all members of a school community in a shared vision to ensure effective integration and to transform instructional practices around educational technologies is required. This instructional concern requires an educational leader to use transformational leadership principles to create a working environment that will build confidence in the followers while facilitating the implementation of technology in the classroom.

What are transformational leaders?

Marks & Printy (2003) explain that “Transformational leaders motivate followers by raising their consciousness about the importance of organizational goals and by inspiring them to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the organization” (p. 375). These leaders will create a working environment where trust and respect are promoted, and the knowledge and expertise of its members are treated as valuable parts of a whole program. These leaders will also analyze previous mistakes, challenge the way programs have been implemented in the past and will look to the team to find solutions to overcome these previous shortcomings.

4 Steps to Plan a Technology Initiative

Ahn, Bivona, and DiScala (2011) explain that there are multiple avenues to establishing educational technology policies and initiatives. Some more successful than others. Different school boards will approach integration differently, and its adoption will vary depending on the level of attention that these initiatives receive. Experts in educational technology integration suggest:

1. Plan with a Goal in Mind

As an educational community, develop a common vision and a goal for technology integration through collaboration and teamwork. Beginning your project with surveys to gather information from staff and students will ensure that the voices from all interested parties will be heard. This initial data can show the growth of your initiative and will help set the tone for the project. Technology initiatives should never funnel from “top-down” decisions, and policy initiatives should be reevaluated on a yearly basis.

2. Use Gathered Data

As previously mentioned, data from surveys can be used to assess educational needs, create instructional models, and determine technological devices that have been requested for your initiative. Project stakeholders should evaluate the status of school infrastructure to ensure that it can handle the influx of devices. Ultimately, project leaders should select devices that students and staff feel the most comfortable with, and that can be supported by the school network.

3.  Personalize Student Learning

Initiative leaders can ensure that policies and resources equip teachers with the right tools and ongoing support to differentiate instruction and personalize learning in their classrooms. Collaboration between teachers and students will create opportunities to examine observations and reflections, student work, formative and summative assessments, and data that is embedded within the software of different learning apps. In these classrooms, the teacher can design learning opportunities or guide learners to generate their own personalized learning experiences.

4. Personalize Professional Learning

Schools must commit to ensuring that technology training is available, ongoing, and relevant to professional learning. Leaders can collaborate with teachers to develop clear goals for professional development that align with the vision for student learning. Also, to create and promote the integration of technology in education, leaders and staff can use combinations of face-to-face, online, and blended professional learning communities. This will create opportunities for staff to see technology being used authentically to create learning networks between initiative leads and staff participants.

In the comments section below, please post examples of how educational leaders in your school or school board integrated technology into teaching practices.

References

Ahn, J., Bivona, L. K., & DiScala, J. (2011). Social Media Access in K-12 Schools: Intractable Policy Controversies in an Evolving WorldASIST 2011. Retrieved from http://ahnjune.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ASIST2011_AUP.pdf

Marks, H. M., & Printy, S. M. (2003). Principal leadership and school performance: An integration of transformational and instructional leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 39 (3), 370-397. doi: 10.1177/0013161X03253412

Spicing up Social Studies Classrooms with Geocaching

Geocaching: The Basics

Geocaching is a digital application that helps students take part in a scavenger hunt for hidden caches around the world. Hidden caches can be found in both urban/rural environments, such as a park bench on a busy Toronto street or under a rock next to the Bay of Fundy. Geocaching is a terrific activity that helps merge technology and the great outdoors.

Things Getting “Stale” in your Social Studies Classroom?

Are your students using twenty-year-old decaying history textbooks? Are your students “tuning out” of your class and not making connections with your curriculum?  Students have reported that social studies is boring because of its emphasis on memorization of endless facts that they say are of little importance to their lives (Rossi, 1995). It doesn’t have to be this way. With geocaching, social studies can be brought to life as students can ditch their stained and moldy textbooks for engaging inquiry-based learning activities in the “real” world.

Geocaching in the Classroom

The possibilities of geocaching go far beyond recreational use. As a classroom tool, geocaching provides authentic inquiry-based activities that support higher order thinking skills. (Lisenbee, Hallman, Landry, 2015). Geocaching also encourages students to get outside the classroom walls and make meaningful connections between technology and the natural world (Lisenbee et al, 2015). Teachers who have used geocaching praise it for facilitating students to become a community of learners where they became their own instructors (Lisenbee et al, 2015)

 Connection to the Curriculum

Geocaching lends itself well to a variety of interdisciplinary opportunities in the social studies classroom.  In history class students could use geocaching to explore a battle field where they could uncover caches that detail quotes from military leaders, journal entries from soldiers, and photographs from the time of the battle (Adam and Mowers, 2007). In geography class, geocaching can be used to help students map the community around their school or explore the meaning of longitude and latitude. Geocaching is a terrific tech tool that can help students to make meaningful “real-world” connections with the social studies curriculum.

References

Adam, A., & Mowers, H. (2007). Can you dig it? School Library Journal, 53(8), 40.

Lisenbee, P., Hallman, C., & Landry, D. (2015). Geocaching is catching students’ attention in the classroom. The Geography Teacher, 12(1), 7-16. doi:10.1080/19338341.2014.975147

Rossi, J. A. (1995). In-depth study in an issues-oriented social studies classroom. Theory & Research in Social Education, 23(2), 88-120.

Schlatter, B. E., & Hurd, A. R. (2005). GEOCACHING: 21st-century hide-and-seek. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 76(7), 28-32.

Please feel free to reply below and let me know if you have ever used geocaching in the classroom. 

4 Ideas for Using Snapchat in your Classroom!

Is it sustainable to use this hugely popular messaging app in your classroom?

With 71% of users under the age of 34, why wouldn’t you at least try it?

 

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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?

It’s simple.

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.

  1. Do you want to communicate using chat? Or using stories?
  2. What are the media messaging restrictions in your respective school boards?
  3. What parameters are you working within?

Snapchat Stories 

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

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. 

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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.


Additional Reading 

  1. Does Snapchat have a place in the classroom
    http://blog.learningsciences.com/2015/06/23/does-snapchat-have-a-place-in-the-classroom-social-media-for-teachers/
  2. 3 Ways Snapchat can help schools engage with students
    http://crescerance.com/3-ways-snapchat-can-help-schools-engage-with-students/
  3. Teachers are starting to use Snapchat are you?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teaching_now/2016/06/teachers_snapchat_guide.html

References

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/