SnapChat is the next big thing in social media. If you are a teacher, then you are probably aware that your students are regular users. And although the dynamic messaging app is most popular with teenagers, its adult user base continues to grow as more people become aware of the platform's potential for creative self-expression.
What is SnapChat?
SnapChat is a mobile messaging app where users can share images and videos that will self delete after a few seconds of being viewed. Like a casual conversation, there is no lasting record of your interactions. The transient nature of what you share creates an experience that is more authentic and in the moment, which is a large reason why SnapChat has mass appeal.
How do people use SnapChat?
Short-lived content is not the only feature that separates SnapChat from other social platforms. SnapChat has a "fun factor” that bolsters the user experience. You can add text captions to your photos and even doodle on images before sharing them with friends. Users can also broadcast their “story,” which is a compilation of photos and video clips, within a 24-hour period, that shares your experiences in a “day in the life” format.
Is SnapChat for me?
Remember when you first tried using Twitter? The hashtags and foreign lingo were probably quite intimidating. But after a trial period, you gained a feel for its interface and unique style of communication, which led you to becoming a regular user.
SnapChat has its own learning curve and grasping the interface will take time, likely even more than Twitter did. But if a teenager can figure it out, then so can you. You can access a helpful step-by-step guide to using SnapChat here.
How is media shared on SnapChat?
SnapChat is much more than a messaging app. It has become a hub for news and media outlets like Food Network, National Geographic, ESPN, and The Wall Street Journal to share exclusive content via the “discovery” feature.
Exclusive media content is attracting a growing amount of adult users who are drawn by the platform's potential for customization. This trend is only expected to continue as SnapChat is poised to surpass Twitter in terms of overall popularity as its user base begins to resemble more mature social platforms.
How can teachers use SnapChat?
As a millennial educator and regular SnapChat user, I have been unable to establish a safe and appropriate way to interact with students using the platform. At least not yet. While it’s true that education and SnapChat have yet to become friends, I have discovered that SnapChat is an awesome place for teachers to express themselves and to find inspiration.
Here are three ways that you can use SnapChat to broaden your horizons as an educator:
1.) Share Your Story
Teachers know that there is no such thing as a dull moment. Most people are completely unaware of what a day in the life of a teacher looks like. SnapChat offers an incredible opportunity for a teacher to share her story and to inspire others.
So go ahead and share that little dance you always do when you finish grading a stack of papers or the excited face you make when writing with a fresh dry-erase board marker. By sharing your personal story, you can connect with and inspire others to support and pursue careers in education. Pretty cool, right?
SnapChat users find inspiration in personal experiences. Like every social media platform, SnapChat has a networking element where users can discover and interact with like-minded people. It is a great place to connect with fellow educators and thought leaders. Consider using SnapChat if you are looking to increase and diversify your personal learning network.
3.) Creative Exploration
Although SnapChat launched in 2011, the platform is still relatively new and people are still discovering creative ways to use it. Since there is no standard approach to effective storytelling, the potential of SnapChat is dependent on the creativity of its users.
Many athletes, musicians, and photographers have found creative ways to share their story using SnapChat. Most teachers are immensely creative individuals. I think it’s time that we start using social media to share our message and give educational advocacy a louder voice.
When it comes to telling a teacher's story, SnapChat may be your best tool.
by Anthony Persico
Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for MashUp Math. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel. Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.