Instagram isn’t just a platform for selfies, business promotions, and cute animals. With a little creativity, you can bring the visual power of photos and videos to your classroom, weave them into your students’ learning process, and bring a little fun to their (and your!) days. Do you use Instagram in your classroom? How do you use it? Share your ideas, hits and misses, and insights with the Daily Genius community by leaving a comment below, heading over to our Facebook page and dropping us a line there, or by tweeting us a message on Twitter!
10 ways to use Instagram in the classroom
Send classroom notifications
Many teachers use other forms of social media – like Twitter and Facebook – to share classroom news and other notifications. Don’t overlook Instagram for this. Having a snow day? Post a photo of a blizzard with a reminder along with any notes about what work will be postponed or due on a different day. Test coming up? Post a photo notification and any other pertinent information. Many students will remember the visual reminder!
Showcase students and student work
Feature a student of the week or month, with a short bio and some tidbits about themselves and their work. Throughout the year, showcase various pieces of many different student’s work in as many areas as possible. Either one can serve as a reward for good work, consistent effort, or another measure you choose to attach to it. It will help keep students motivated to keep up their hard work!
Review content from class
Remind your students of some things you’ve talked about in class, to keep the concepts fresh in their minds. Ask them questions or bring another call to action to the photo you post. For example, if you talked about a historical figure in class, ask them who the photo is of, and 1-2 relevant items about that person, have them post a photo of one of that person’s contemporaries, competitors, etc.
Share reading recommendations
Not all students get really excited about extracurricular reading. Get them interested by showing your interest. Share books that you’ve enjoyed (that are appropriate, of course!), books that are relevant to class material you’ve discussed, stories that have been popular with other groups of students, articles of interest, and more.
Track student progress over time
Snap photos of student work throughout the year. This can serve to document the progress they’ve made, and can be useful when putting together student portfolios as well.
Encourage and engage your students
Encouragement and engagement can come in all forms. When you’re excited about teaching and learning, your students will be too. Whether you give a shout out to your class for a group achievement or just try to get them pumped up for something school related, Instagram is a great way to do it.
Have a contest
Instagram contests aren’t just for businesses! Host a contest where your students share photos along a classwork related theme to win – the prize can be as simple as being featured on Instagram! You can host contests that require students to think and provide information relevant to class, or just-for-fun contests, too. Who in the class/school posts a photo of them in the silliest/best/most outlandish outfit? Have a writing contest where students use the photo you post as a writing prompt. The possibilities are endless!
Document the year
A lot of stuff happens over the course of the year – document it! If your class goes on a field trip, take some photos! When students participate in concerts, sporting events, classroom events, or anything else school-relevant, share photos of these events. Both you and your students will be able to look back over the year and remember the milestone events that took place.
Have your students role-play and interact. They can imagine that historical figures used Instagram. What sorts of things would George Washington share on Instagram? Was Shakespeare a chronic meme-sharer? Who shared professional-related items and who shared more personal items? Have them share as though they were a particular person and interact with other students also posing as other historical figures.
Have students share relevant material
Your students’ interests don’t stop when they walk through the classroom door. Share things that are interesting and relevant to both them and to classwork. This could be photos of historical events, literary characters, mathematical concepts, and more. Encourage your students to find things that they’d like to share with the class along these same lines. They’ll be excited to have ‘their’ photo picked and shared, and it will encourage them to think outside the box for each subject.
Explorer, eternal learner, animal lover. Perpetually drawn to the ocean. Adventure ready. Suffers from wanderlust. Likes chasing things down the sink with the little sprayer thingy.
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