Over the last few months, I entered the world of Snapchat and Instagram. My project initially included two other apps as well. Duolingo I dropped immediately as it did not fit with the direction I decided to go with my project. PicCollage, I was using most of the way through, but although it was similar to the other two, it did not have the same social aspect to it, so I decided to just focus the remainder of my work on the two big ones! My project centred around four guiding questions which kept me grounded and drove both the external research I did and my own personal dive into the apps themselves.
As I do not teach in a school right now, I could not use the apps I was trying in a classroom of students. Therefore, I chose a different direction. The following outlines my project journey.
- The first decision I made was to do a personal journey into media. As I mentioned above, I was originally going to do 4 apps. As I outline in my first post, I had planned to do two social media ones and two that had a more “practical” use for students. I did a poll with several teenagers and based on their recommendations, made my choices.
- As I began working with the apps, I started to consider exactly where I wanted to take my project. Like the old Sesame Street skit, “One of these things was not like the other”. Duolingo just did not fit, so I dropped it from the project. I chose 4 guiding questions outlined in this next post which guided my project moving forward. I was going to focus on aspects of digital citizenship and media literacy as they related to photosharing apps in schools.
- As part of one of our class assignments, we had to consider how our project related to one or more of the nine elements of digital citizenship. As I was currently researching that very thing, I found that easy to discuss. Part of my project was going to directly relate to whether these apps were useful for teaching digital citizenship.
- After a bit of a hiatus from posting due to some unforseen circumstances, I posted an update on my progress. Although I had not posted much on my questions at that point, I had been gathering research on each of them and formulating a plan for what my end product would be.
- The next area I focused on specifically was my first guiding question – what did research say about photosharing apps and their value in teaching digital citizenship? In this post, I made reference to several sources I read on the subject. I did not include my own opinion, but rather, what other experts had to say on the topic.
- Although I had researched every area of my project, the next area I chose to look at more closely was media literacy and my question regarding whether different literacy skills were needed for students to make meaning of what they see while using these apps and what the implications might be for literacy instruction. At this point, I knew there would most certainly be implications and a need to consider different literacy skills, but I was not ready to share my final product. A link to my document will be shared below.
- My next two posts were related and were a Part One and Part Two. These were my own observations about how this type of media is used and what I was able to do with it with regards to digital citizenship. I reflected on whether or not I thought these apps had educational value and rigour in teaching digital citizenship – which I do. I included the first version of my document “Using Photosharing Apps to Teach Digital Citizenship Education”, but I have since added to that somewhat and will include a link to the updated version below.
- My final post was just before this one, as I decided my reflections on my final guiding question really deserved their own distinct post. In this post, I shared my document, “Photosharing Apps – Privacy and Usage Implications for Schools”. I will share the link to that below as well.
This project was interesting in many ways. I can honestly say that I may have never joined Instagram and would very likely never have joined Snapchat if not for this project. In the end, I came up with three documents related to my guiding questions which could be considered by teachers, schools or even school divisions in some cases, when deciding whether or not these apps have a place in the classroom. Thanks for the journey, EC&I 832!