The buzz around Instagram might have you thinking about jumping ship. Instead, why not consider a few ways to use the app in your classroom?
Teachers who want to reach their students must continue to evolve their curriculum for the world now- not as it was five or ten or fifteen years ago. Despite the negative connotations that Facebook and other such platforms have (specifically in regards to distracting students), there are all kinds of positive ways that social media can play a role in learning enrichment.
Instagram may not be as well known as Facebook or Twitter, but this photo-sharing social media platform could be a great tool in your classroom.
Students can make a photo collage of all the books they’ve read throughout the year. Every time they finish a book, they take a picture of it, post it to Instagram, and at the end of the year, there is a shared record of your class’ book list. Sharing these photos can spark others to read books they may not know about.
Turn a dry subject with numbers and formulas, and connect it to art through visual expression. Younger students can capture mathematical concepts through visual problem solving re-enactments (like word problems) or even snapping photos of complex formulas designed on poster board.
Have each of your students take a photo of themselves in different parts of their town and city. Use the photomap feature during a geography lesson.
If you are doing a unit on ocean life, take a field trip to the ocean and have students take photos of all the things they find. Then you can share them on Instagram and create a Facebook page with all your findings.
5. Classroom Instagram Account
Every month, take a few photos of the student’s progress. Families can follow the classroom account and keep up with what their child is learning and doing.
6. Pen Pals
Connect your classroom account with other classrooms across the country. Students can share photos of each other (as part of a pen pal program). This builds connections with different cultures and races.
7. Physical Education
Host a field day for your class. Partake in various sporting events and have a few photographers standing by to document the occasion. Add statistics captions to your photos.
As a journalism assignment have your students interview a business or community organization. With the write up (which can be posted to a classroom blog or other website), have them take a bunch of photos with Instagram to go along with the piece.
9. Community Awareness
Get your class out into the community. Do a fundraiser for a local shelter, and photo-document the process from design, strategy, implementation, and achievement.
10. Tag Photos
If you are doing a unit on physics, take a few photos of your experiments, tag them with a famous physicist on Twitter, and send the photos with his or her Twitter handle. You may just get someone famous involved in your project!
11. Teacher Photos
Parents and community members love to know about the teachers who work in the schools. Have the kids interview all the teachers in a school, writing up a bio of each instructor and tagging a photo of them on Instagram. The filters make even the poorest photos look professional!
12. “How It’s Made”
Creating a project in art? Document the process and post it on Instagram. Tag it with strategic keywords so people who are interested can check it out. If your classroom has a website, add the link in the comment section.
This could be used for a math or marketing lesson. Have students run a virtual “store” and use Instagram as a marketing tool for showcasing products and generating buzz. Teach advertising principles and how they work with social media.
14. Student Instagram Account
Have each student open an account at the beginning of the year, specifically to document his or her individual progress. Take pictures of group work, projects, new haircuts, workspace, awards, and presentations. At the end of the year, the student will be able to see all the changes.
Photo document the changes seasons with Instagram, or use it to follow the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Many scientific units require observation as a key component, and photos are a great way to capture the process.
Instagram is a social media site, so students will enjoy the process of feedback from followers. Have them post a photo of a seemingly unsolvable problem and then use follower feedback to create a solution through brainstorming.
Offer a fun and creative scavenger hunt. Send students out to take photos of different shapes (like finding isosceles triangles in architecture). Then post a collage and invite followers to identify the common denominator in every building.
18. Behind the scenes
When working on a chorus concert, band performance, or theater show, use Instagram to generate buzz and give loyal fans a “behind the scenes” peek at the student’s preparation.
19. School Instagram
An entire school could have one account. Each month a classroom could feature their best projects. If the school is equipped with a website, photos from the account can be shared each month to the public. The community can give feedback to the student’s who are showcasing their work.
Photograph recipes that you design, write, and experiment with in the classroom. You can also do a nutrition unit at the same time. After all the photos are uploaded, create a class cookbook.