This is what I truly love about summer vacations, it allows us teachers to catch up with technology tools and learn how to integrate them in the classroom. I just joined Instagram last week after a friend of mine encouraged me to try it out and post my vacation photos there. You guessed it right! I was uploading, was trying different kinds of editing tools to enhance my photos, and learning all of these cool features in just a matter of minutes. I immediately saw the artistic use of Instagram, and knowing that many of my middle school students are using this app on their phones my ideas on how to use this in the classroom went wild!
How can we incorporate Instagram in the classroom? Education Rethink suggests Ten Ideas for using Instagram in the Classroom.
1. Digital Storytelling: I started doing Show and Tell awhile ago, after Tom suggested that it could be a powerful way for students to share their stories. I'm going to do that this year. However, I'm also going to give students the option of taking pictures from their neighborhood. They can tell their story visually, annotating it through their comments on each picture.
2. Grammar Practice: Photography can be a great place to practice grammatical structures. It can be something as simple as writing a functional text (I had been walking down the street when I saw . . .) Or it could be a way to practice, sequentially, the grammatical structure using their world as the context.
3. Photojournalism: Similar to digital storytelling, this would allow students to explore issues in their world through a visual medium. I want them to engage in citizen journalism. Whether it's a school sporting event or an immigration sweep, a classroom community service activity or a local election, students can use the mobile devices to express their social voice.
4. Photo Prompts: Last year, I found photographs and created writing prompts. Sometimes, they were geared toward poetry or narrative while other times they were persuasive or informational. I will encourage students to develop their own photo prompts using Instagram.
5. Metaphors: I will give students concepts from any of the subject areas and ask students to find a metaphor that fits the concept. They will use Instagram to find the metaphor and then describe it in the comments section.
6. Photos for Blogs: This is pretty simple, but I want students to start adding their own photographs to some of their blog posts. There's something powerful about looking at a post and realizing that the photograph and the writing both originated from the same author.
7. Find the Context: I want my students to document math that they see in their world. I'm thinking Instagram can be a great place to document things like linear relationships, data, fractions, etc.
8. Ethnographic Study: I've done this before in social studies in writing. I'm thinking it might work as a blended activity of writing and pictures. I'd love to see them take photographs of the spaces they inhabit and then analyze the cultural, political, social and economic elements that define the space.
9. Sharing Art: I love to sketch. I love to doodle. And yet, I've rarely posted my drawings to Instagram. I'm wondering what it would look like to blend the art of photography with pencil and paper or with painting.
10.Just Let Them Take Pictures: I'm thinking of letting kids take pictures for the sake of taking pictures. Let a few of them fall in love with photography. Let them find the beauty in their world and share it with others and then see what kind of conversations occur afterward.
Can you add some more ideas in this list?