Prior to August 2014 I was hesitant to use Instagram for any purpose. I’m not the selfie type or really even like taking pictures. But I noticed a lot of my friends were using Instagram and had great looking pictures. So in late August 2014 I finally joined. At the moment I seem to be using it in the same manner a lot my friends are: showcasing pictures of our canine chums and our food/beverage interests. I use Twitter in the classroom and wondered if I could use Instagram in the classroom as well.
If you use Instagram in a different way, tell us about it in the comments!
Student Based Ideas:
Featuring student work is ideal with Instagram. Not only does it allow you to have a record of great student products, but it allows you to display it to other classes, parents, etc. This will likely encourage greater production if students know their work will be viewed by other eyes. The student work doesn’t have to be specifically visually aesthetic items. A great poem is just as worthy as a great picture.
Featuring a student of the week is another great way to have a productive classroom Instagram, while encouraging students to do their best. The student of the week can send out pictures of where the sit, their favorite aspects of the classroom and much more. There should be some criteria in place to determine the student of the week for these purposes.
Students can interact with their classmates in a way they did not before. They will have more to talk about now that they the creativity of their classmates. Featuring student work allows classmates to learn more about each other such as hobbies and interests.
Teacher Based Ideas:
Since you’re presenting student work and providing students with a platform to express themselves it is also a good idea to chronicle what they’ve done. You could make a collage for each student using sites like collage.com. You could make an end of school year timeline for each student using Dipity. With either choice you can document all of the wonderful things your students did all year.
You can also capture important moments for the students. Things like field trips should be remembered. Things like graduation should be recorded! These items, if student specific, can also be added to their display of progress.
Remind students of reading assignments. Send a picture of the book you’re reading and include the page numbers that need to be read before the next class meeting. This gives students an interactive reminder of what they need to do.
In this same regard Instagram can be used for all homework reminders. Need to remind students a worksheet is due tomorrow? Send it out with a reminder in the description. You can do the same for anything: book report, homework problems, PowerPoint assignment, essay, etc.
While there are items out there like Remind101 administrators often frown upon text messaging type reminder systems, so use Instagram. Send out reminders about class trips, end of marking period, school closings due to holidays and delays/closings associated with inclement weather. This can also be used for sports and clubs.
You should also use your classroom Instagram account to send out encouragement. There are a lot of standardized tests these days, so make sure to encourage students via inspirational items you can find or create.
Finally, I think I will use Instagram to assign some fun homework or extra credit. NOTE: Students must be 13 years of age or older to join, so this may only be plausible in a high school setting. I would provide a visual prompt for students and expect them to synthesize the prompt and create an articulate response. I would encourage net etiquette so there are no arguments in the responses.
For additional ideas check out this neat YouTube video: