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3 Jun 2015 by Scott Sterling

You might think Instagram is the territory of vapid celebrities and wannabe artists. Or perhaps you’ve memorized the names and properties of all of the filters by heart. Whatever the case may be, Instagram can be a valuable social media best practices tool in an age where students are increasingly visual learners.

Scavenger hunt

For information to move from short-term to long-term memory, the brain needs to be able to attach meaning to knowledge. Furthermore, the Common Core calls for more real-world applications of learning. Whatever the subject, students can find examples that have to do with your class all around them. It could be an example of an isosceles triangle or a metaphor. Have them take pictures and save it to the class board.

Share student work

“Brag Boards” are required in many schools, but so are many other posters. Instead of taking up space, display excellent student work on a private Instagram feed that only you, the students, and their parents can access. It also helps busy parents feel the rush of pride without having to visit your classroom.

Be a person

Use Instagram to show your human side. Instead of using it just for work, share some of the funny things you come across. Make a few memes that reference things going on in class. Show them some snaps of what you get up to during weekends and breaks. Finally, encourage them to interact with you about your shares. It can really help spur engagement.

Recreate famous images

You can read about famous art, but that doesn’t engage much of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Helping to recreate it, on the other hand, shows synthesis. The same can be said for other famous pictures, especially in history class. Just make sure they don’t use actual tanks when trying to recreate Tiananmen Square.

Create a famous person’s Instagram feed

Not Kim Kardashian (that’s definitely NSFS), but someone from history or literature. It has the students conduct deep multimedia research (a Common Core skill) and engages them in some critical thinking about what that person would actually be like if they were on Instagram. If you don’t want the kids creating fake profiles, just have them make a collage project out of their findings.

Student of the week

As a reward or on a rotating basis, hand over control of the class Instagram feed to a student (with rules and regulations, of course). They would love to display their work to their classmates and have an opportunity for some attention they might not otherwise receive. This works particularly well with shy kids because they don’t have to write or speak.

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