Snapchat: Classroom tools for the 21st century

Dear Matt,

Thinking of shapchat as the devil, or as a sexting tool limits what one can do in the classroom. If our students are using it, than we as teachers need to embrace it. Rejecting any popular app in the classroom only increases the battle with students to put away their devices. Remember when teachers wouldn’t allow cellphones in the classroom, how many students actually followed that rule. Not any I know, instead they spent more time trying to be sneaky about looking at their phone rather than paying attention. If teachers would have given a real attempt into creating purposeful opportunities for cellphones to be used in the classroom than students may have put some effort into participating in class. This is only more true with students now, because not only do they have cellphones but they also have apps that encourage communication and networking.

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The first way to use snapchat is to communicate with your students:

We have all been in a situation when students are spread out all over the school working on group projects, and we have to walk all around the school saying the same thing to each group. Would it not be great if we could just send a snap to students, we know if they receive, and we know if they read it so it adds responsibility to them.

Increases attention:

If you are only viewing a snap for ten seconds, you have to pay attention for those ten seconds. Students are constantly being distracted by technology, so we might as well make their distraction benefit us.

It can be educational (no really):

You know all those annoying things that appear on your main feed under “discover”, while what if I told you that those feeds actually include educational content. There is a national geographic feed, which includes articles about animals, did you know facts, any videos related to nature. Pretty sure that can be tied into the science curriculum, and English, or and media studies, art, it could even be used for in-class inquiry topics. There are lots of different feeds which a teacher could relate to education. Wow, who would have thought that a “sexting” app could be used for education.

We need to stop referring to it as an app for sexting:

It is like giving permission to students to use it for sexting. If it is that big of a concern in a classroom that your students will be sexting, first off pay better attention to what your doing since sexting usually requires removal of clothes. Second, educate your students about why sexting and using technology for sexting is dangerous and immature. If we are concerned about students sexting, than it should probably be part of a lesson you teach, repeatedly if needed.

You don’t need to look perfect to be on snapchat:

When you look at your Facebook or Instagram how many unpleasant photos are there of you. Probably not very many, that is because we live in a world where we have to look perfect all the time. Snapchat gives people an opportunity to be themselves without being judged, there is something liberating about knowing you can take an ugly photo, let others see it, and never worry about it again, because only your friends care enough to take screenshots of you looking ugly.

Snapchat is not a bad thing, it can be used for good. Teach your students how it can be used for good and stop being afraid to try new apps in the classroom.

 

3 thoughts on “Snapchat: Classroom tools for the 21st century

  1. Nice post, Brooke! Robin and I also wrote about Snapchat as an #edtech tool, and we discovered that there are some very creative ways that it can be used in the classroom. Going off of your point about how Snapchat increases attention, Robin and I actually read a few articles about teachers who used Snapchat in an EAL classroom to help students learn vocabulary; the teacher would Snap a picture and the students would have identify the picture in words. The 10-second clips force students to pay attention and think quickly — it was like a substitution for flashcards.

    I think many people are anti-Snapchat because it is known as the “sexting app”. However, just because a tech tool has possible negative repercussions doesn’t mean that we should shy away from it. I think that Snapchat’s reputation allows for a teachable moment — it opens up the opportunity for teachers to have a discussion with students about digital citizenship and online safety. Like you said, if we are worried about our students sexting, then we need to teach them why sexting is dangerous. Avoiding that conversation, and avoiding Snapchat, won’t do any good.

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