Instagram is a popular photo sharing app. People share all kinds of excellent visuals to share their lives and stories. So have you ever thought about using Instagram as a teaching tool in your classroom?
If you are active on social media or have young tech users in your life, then you have probably come across Instagram, this platform works in hand-in-hand with Facebook and has become one of the most popular apps on the internet. So, if you are looking for a social media platform that is convenient to use, Instagram is the right one for you!
If you haven’t started a classroom Instagram account yet, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started!
- Define your target audience
While setting up your classroom Instagram account, it is essential to determine your audience. Instagram is a platform that teachers, students, and parents all use, which makes it an excellent tool for your classroom!
For example, if you are an elementary art teacher, your target audience won’t be your students but rather parents and other art teachers. In the secondary setting, you might be posting for your students, your school community and other art teachers.
Having more than one target audience is ok. The various content is what makes some accounts, so fun to follow on Instagram. So, if you are looking to gain some followers, you may want to target a specific audience. For instance, your students may not care about how you organize and store your paint or label your sharpies, but an art teacher might!
- Understand your school policies
When it comes to social media platforms in the school setting, it is essential to know your school’s policies.
Here is some information you’ll want to know:
- Can I share pictures of my students?
- Can I use the name of my school?
- Should I provide the account details to my administrator?
- How can I interact with my students?
Your answer to these questions should be in your school policies. If they’re not, you can ask your administrator to prevent any further problems.
- Public or Private?
The answer to this question will be noted in your school policies. In many school districts, families are asked to sign some media release forms. These forms allow you to share photos of the students on the web. This same form will usually apply to any teacher-run social media accounts. If you want to include your students in your pictures and are not sure about the release forms, your Instagram account should be set to private. If you are sure about the release policy at your school or you don’t plan to show student’s faces, a public profile would be the right choice for you.
- Interact with your students
Once again, your school community will most likely have a policy about interacting with students on social media. In my school community, it is okay to have student interactions on a school account. For instance, if a student were to contact me on my personal Instagram page, it would be against my school policy to interact. However, if a student wants to communicate with me on my school Instagram page, that would be okay.
One of the best thing about having an Instagram account for your school is the interaction with your students. They are always excited when you post something they have made, and it will build a classroom community outside of the school walls. But if your students follow you on Instagram, should you follow them back? That would be a personal preference. I, myself, won’t follow many of my students because of the things I might see on their feed. I would just follow students when they ask me to. You should also consider this while tagging them in your photos; you should ask their permission first.
Ideas for integrating Instagram into your school
- Get your students to create a picture essay or some photojournalism.
- Share an interesting picture as a creative writing prompt, they will see the same image but they will have to come up with different stories.
- Students can document their progress in a school science project on their Instagram accounts.
- They can share their notes
- Have your students travel or learn about other cultures with Instagram while sitting in class.
Using Instagram as an educational tool
although the platform is an excellent place to share student artwork, it can also be used as an educational tool.
Here are some ways you can use Instagram as an instructional tool:
- Discover the work of contemporary artists
Sometimes creating a power point presentation is not necessary. Why not pulling up their Instagram page instead? This way you can see their most recent work!
- Explore hashtags with your students
One of the useful features of Instagram is its ability to connect a community. Hashtags are an excellent way to explore different artists and artworks being shared.
- Post some content for student interaction
Every once in a while you can host a little contest on your Instagram page. Like this photo:
Creating an Instagram account for your classroom doesn’t have to be difficult. If you haven’t made it yet, just do it with having these tips in your mind.
Do you have a classroom Instagram account? Share your username in the comments below.