In this article Heather Wolpert-Gawron polled her students as to what they most wished school was like. She classified the most popular answers into ten general categories: collaborating with peers, working with technology, real world application to school work, be a teacher that likes teaching, get students active, give a lot of visuals, give students a chance to choose what they do, understand students, don't do the same thing every day, and be human.
I think this was a great idea, first to ask students what they thought, and second to classify the answers into lists like that. I definitely think I have seen students respond to the things in the list and want to have more of those things in school. Often, I do not think students get as much of the things from the list as they could. In pursuing a student centered teaching model, all of those categories are things to use in the classroom.
This article talks about using Instagram in Spanish class by having students locate words on their Spanish vocabulary list and take pictures. This is a fun way to have students get a visual connection to the vocabulary words, and also to get to compete and have fun while learning Spanish. Of course, many students already have this tool and so having them use it to learn is likely to be popular with students. Another thing I liked about this article is that author is collaborating with a teacher from Spain. I think it is good for people to start collaborating with people in other countries. They offer a different perspective, and it creates opportunities to bring people of different backgrounds together.
Instagram Scavenger Hunt
This teacher from San Francisco happened to be close enough in proximity to the setting of the Joy Luck Club, Chinatown, to take her students on a field trip there. Interestingly, students were also learning about China in another class so it was a chance to have crossover between classes. The idea was to give students a list of 20 things to take pictures of on Instagram that are commonly found in Chinatown, such as dried fish, herbal shops or landmarks such as the Chinatown Gate. As students take the pictures the classify them with the hashtag of the scavenger hunt. I think this sounds like a really cool activity, and apparently so did a lot of other teachers because there were many comments in the comments sections saying it was a good idea. This is another example of an activity with a lot of student engagement using technology.
3 Ways Colleges Use Instagram
This article details how Instagram can be a potential tool for colleges to use to market and promote their school and create a connection with current students and alumni. Some universities have had Instagram for several years while others are just starting, and yet others have yet to begin using it. Students contribute ideas for how Instagram can be used and universities adapt to those suggestions. Much of the appeal of Instagram is the visual nature of the tool. Many seem to prefer seeing a picture to reading text and Instagram capitalizes on this tendency.
I see the value in tools like Instagram. Colleges work mainly with a demographic that is tech savvy and many students are already using Instagram. Many younger people are perceived and likely are very visual in nature. When colleges use Instagram they are acknowledging this. I think though it is a good tool, it should not be the only tool colleges or schools use to communicate or interact with students past and present. In the same way colleges have found this a successful tool, there are other applications for high school as well. Using technologically relevant tools in the classroom both helps prepare students for the high tech world, as well as a likely high interest from students. Overall, colleges have clearly found their niche using Instagram and similarly other institutions may find it a useful piece of technology as well.