Tech Thoughts: A Guide to Snapchat for Teachers

There are so many new elements of social media sometimes it can be hard to keep up. I try to learn a new type of technology at least once a semester. This semester, I ventured into the world of snapchat. You may have a false notion of what Snapchat is, because I sure did…no longer is it for illicit photos that disappear after a few seconds.  Now, Snapchat can connect you to a community through stories and connect you to friends via images.

As someone who believes in purging, Snapchat appeals to me.  I can see a cute photo of you and your dog that you shared with me and then it disappears.  I can take a picture of my garden, and put it on my story, and then, after 24 hours, it disappears. Basically, there are 3 ways to use snapchat: to share an image with one person, to share an image with your friends by putting it on your story, and to view larger community stories (for example, recently there was a Kentucky Derby story you could view).  I live near Penn State, so I can see the Penn State story, which often has cultural events, sports images, and cute pictures of ducklings crossing the street. (It also has time stamped images of students studying into the wee hours of the night).

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Here are a few things about Snapchat I learned:

  • You can also take video clips of up to 10 seconds
  • You can caption your images with text and with a drawing tool.
  • You can use a geotag if you are in a specific location or if it is a particular day (for example, Earth Day had a few filters that showed up, which you could use for your image).
  • It is fun to be friends with people who travel to different cities so you get to see various Geotags for different cities.
  • You can also replay one snap per day.
  • Facial expressions are important with snapchat.  When you see students making faces, don’t assume they’re just taking selfies, they may be trying to communicate via snapchat.  In a lot of ways, I think this is positive–being able to communicate emotions via facial expressions is an important life skill.
  • In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud talked about how comics should have image and text working together—not just what is considered “dual-specific” text (where the text and the picture say/show the same thing) but where the text and image create meaning together. Snapchat allows people to move beyond dual-specific text and make more complex image/text constructions.
  • Snapchat would be a great platform to use for a conversation between characters in a book–imagine Holden Caulfield and his sister Phoebe having a snapchat conversation!

Posted by Kate, VP Secondary, PCTELA

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Tech Thoughts: A Guide to Snapchat for Teachers

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