This post is the second of a “series” based on my own observations using Snapchat, Instagram and PicCollage. As I alluded to in an earlier post, I was unable to post for a while, so parts one and two did not make their way to publish during the time I was recording my thoughts and observations. Here are some of my earlier thoughts.
I have been thinking about Mike Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship in relation to Snapchat, Instagram and PicCollage. The more I use these apps, the more convinced I am that they can effectively be used to teach a lot of the elements of digital citizenship. In fact, because these apps, or ones like them, are those most commonly chosen by students, I think we need to be using them to teach it. In my experience, the learning that has the most impact on students is learning that is authentic. They ARE using these apps, so it is most appropriate and impactful that we use them to help students to become effective, safe and responsible digital citizens.
Of the nine elements identified by Ribble, there are only three that I feel could not be taught with enough rigour using photosharing apps such as those I have been using. I do not feel that Digital Commerce can really be connected to photosharing apps, unless you loosely tied them to advertisements. Although there are a lot of literacy elements involved in comprehending the messages and intention of the photos and captions being sent (which I discuss and examine in other parts of my project), I feel this is different than what Ribble had in mind. He speaks of Digital Literacy as dealing with just-in-time information, the need for sophisticated searching and processing skills (information literacy) and how to use technology quickly and appropriately. Photosharing apps, to my mind, are less about finding, evaluating and processing information. They are more suited to developing media literacy skills associated with communication and comprehension based on photovisual literacy and making inferences.
In my document, Using Photosharing Apps to Teach Digital Citizenship Education, I look at Ribble’s Nine Elements and some opportunities for using Snapchat, Instagram and PicCollage to help teach them.
Whether or not teachers find value in Snapchat, Instagram or PicCollage for their own personal use, students are using them. Our job is not to judge, it is to prepare students to be critical, safe, aware, appropriate and positive digital contributors. These apps allow us to do that in an authentic way.