Kids these days
No matter what generation you’re from, you’ve heard the phrase. Well kids these days are super into technology. A no-brainer, right? If you’re the parent of, or work with pre-teens and teenagers, you know just how many social media apps and websites they use, sometimes all at once. Teachers are taking advantage of kids’ social media engagement by using it to create another platform for learning and connecting. Might as well nab them where they hang out, right?
The social media hangout of choice? Instagram.
Instagram is a mecca for young people to share photos and videos of themselves, and the things they love. Using it in the classroom opens opportunities for grabbing student’s attention. How is Instagram being used in the classroom? Here are four helpful ways.
Kids love to know what they did right, and in this selfie-crazed world, love to look at themselves, too. Instagram is a great place for teachers and students to showcase what they’ve accomplished. Teachers can post pictures of artwork, students displaying awards like Student of the Month, and successful assignments. In the vein of encouraging kindness, snapping candid images of students helping each other, working together, and displaying random acts of kindness are a way to nurture connection.
Some schools have policies against sharing student’s images online, so following those guidelines is important.
Searching Instagram can reveal a wealth of historic images posted by other users that can be grabbed and shared again. Or, teachers can use copyright-free images from other websites and repost them to Instagram. During a history unit, posting relevant pictures and asking students questions is an interactive way to reiterate information they learned in class. For instance, Dallas Thompson, a 5th-grade teacher, and blogger from Georgia posted an image of Henry Ford and asked the question, “Who is this and what was he known for?” Students posted answers for a fun way to review material and prepare for an exam.
Some kids love to read, and for others, it’s the worst chore ever. Instagram can make it easier. Teachers can use the site to create a reading list of books their students can choose from. Or, to show them what’s coming up next on the reading list. It also allows students to share what they might be reading outside of the classroom which can help generate interest for students who may not be as thrilled about diving into a good book. All of this can be even more exciting if students can connect with their favorite authors on Instagram—and they can by searching the author’s name, and interacting on his or her posts.
Because kids are literally on social media so much, schools and teachers are using Instagram to post important announcements and reminders. Big assignment coming up or standardized testing coming up? Teachers can post funny memes to remind kids to study. Snow day or concert reminder? Kids can catch the announcement on their Instagram feed. Notifications are endless, just like the possibilities for using this resource. Whatever you need to remind students of for the day or week can be effective on Instagram. The kids are there anyway, right? Might as well jump in.