Another dot in the blogosphere?

Filtering Instagram

Posted on: September 29, 2015

There were two major blips on my radar with respect to Instagram. As with most things, I made the observations through an educator’s lens.

Last month TechCrunch reported that Instagram photos were no longer limited to squares.

Last week CNET reported that Instagram now had more users than Twitter.

Instagram - 8 by BrentOzar, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  BrentOzar 

Anecdotally, I have noted that Instagram seems to be the social media of choice among teenagers. (Actually, any social media platform that their parents are not on and invaded is good for them.) This TheNextWeb report says that Instagram is one of the big three among teens (the others being Facebook and Snapchat).

So it is natural for teachers to wonder how to take advantage of this trend. I recall an intrepid team sharing at e-Fiesta 2014 what they did at ITE.

Video source

Anyone looking to take advantage of social media in education does not really have to look very far. It they are critically reflective and possess creative intuit, they can try it own their own, transfer ideas to lessons, and fail forward.

If not, they might find inspiration from one of my new favourite cartoons, Rick and Morty. (Warning: Visiting the links beyond this point is not for the faint-hearted, the ultra conservative, or anyone who cannot appreciate an unadulterated LOL.)

Rick and Morty is an animated series that is in its second season following a mind-blowing first. This Adult Swim link should provide information for the curious or overwhelm those that made the mistake to keep reading and clicking.

Video source

The people behind the hit show also created a novel use of Instagram. They created a companion resource called the @RickandMortyRickstaverse. The video above illustrates how they take advantage of Instagram to create mini quests for fans of the show. In each quest, fans may be rewarded with spoilers, clues, or easter eggs.

My message to teachers and educators is not that they prepare resources like @RickandMortyRickstaverse (although there is nothing to stop them from doing it). That is not only a lot of work, it also does not change what teachers do, i.e., prepare content. If teachers create, it should be to model the process and expectations.

Instead, they might challenge their students to create, share, communicate, and critique with Instagram. After all, that is what people already do there. The entry barrier is extremely low.

The ITE folks were on the right track in getting their students to record instances, document change, and reflect on learning. Here are more ideas:

The main barrier lies with teachers. Will they allow it? Can they see the point of doing this? Will they operate inside the box or outside of it? If Instagram can step out of its square box policy, can teachers do the same?


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