“Thing 2: Photo Fun”

I love my smartphone and I love apps. I’m particularly happy with social media apps likes Facebook and Twitter that help us to connect in 21st century ways, but sometimes I wonder if face-to-face communication will ever be the “cool” thing again. So when Snapchat was released five years ago, I promised myself I would never use it. I didn’t want another app taking up my free time…until this assignment came along.
My students all know about Snapchat and most, if not all, have it on their smartphones. It seemed like the appropriate photo app to try. As part of the Virtual Academy of Rochester, my students take their classes online and see me in person every one to two weeks. We use email and phone calls to communicate in between and as a staff, we rely on technology to help us communicate. This year, we have all spent quite a bit of time thinking about how we can create a greater sense of community and between ourselves and our students. While some teachers created twitter handles or Facebook pages, I thought Snapchat would be great to connect with students and show what’s going on in our labs on a daily basis.

Here’s what I found out: documenting our experiences with photos on Snapchat is a fun, easy way for students and staff to see what we do on a daily basis. It also helps students feel connected to the Virtual Academy program and teachers they don’t traditionally see every day. The filter options are really fun and addicting (my personal favorite is the floral crown)! I also love that you can add a caption or stickers to photos. I could post a picture of a student to let the rest of the Academy know he or she earned a course credit and list the course and a corresponding sticker.

Snapchat is a great tool to celebrate daily student achievements throughout our labs and would help us to strengthen our school community. It would also be a great tool to post announcements about what’s happening in the VAR, weekly reminders, and inspirational quotes to keep students motivated.