"Keep Your Phone Out!" How to Engage Students With Instagram and SnapChat

This week I had the pleasure of speaking at the 2017 Texas Regional Alignment Network College and Career Readiness Symposium.

My presentation, entitled "Keep Your Phones Out! “Screenager” Classroom Engagement Tactics," discussed ideas for utilizing apps such as Instagram and SnapChat in middle school, high school and college classrooms. 

Encouraging students to use their phones in class may seem counter-productive, but I've found it meets students "where they live" and inspires them to see digital devices as tools for learning. (Plus, it's fun!)

Below are a few ideas I shared with attendees:

1.  Hold Class Discussions on Instagram. At the college level, students are expected to engage in online conversations across a variety of mediums to fully participate in class. Instagram can be a great mode for this activity. Simply post an interesting picture and as a question to get the conversation going. 

2. Host Live Q&A's on SnapChat. Once thought to be a parent's worst nightmare, SnapChat has evolved into a multi-functional platform for brands, organizations and people alike. It's a great tool to both ask and receive questions. For example, an instructor could "snap" a photo and include a text overlay with a specific question and students could reply back with their answers. 

3.  Showcase Student Accomplishments. Users aged 13-24 primarily use social media to "preen," or show off their achievements, from Homecoming pictures to college acceptance notifications. Instagram is a great platform to do this inside the classroom.  Instructors can encourage students to share their pictures with them and then post the photos to a class Instagram profile. Students can then ask questions and comment on the posts. 

Not sure where to get started with Instagram, SnapChat or other apps in your classroom? I'm available for online or in-person training sessions and custom presentations. Send me a note to get the conversation started. 

Natalie Andreas