I think I did it…
I think I finally figured out a way that schools can use Snapchat to connect with their school communities. I will get to that in a bit.
If you have decided to stop using the Internet over the last few years and have never heard of Snapchat, it is the app that is hugely popular with kids and terrifies adults, mostly because it was known as the “sexting app” to many people. Yet, when I go to schools and ask kids who uses Snapchat, it is almost all of them. Although there is inappropriate use of the app (just like every app in existence), there is something that is appealing to a massive amount of people and why the company is considered to be valued in the 10 billion dollar range.
I personally have had an account for a long time but never used it, or really thought of using it until I saw this video:
Notice no mention of Twitter or Voxer in the piece? (I feel old)
What I found really interesting was the immediacy of Snapchat that draws people to it, and also what seems to create a more authentic user experience. If you know a picture will disappear (and I know you can screen capture it) are you more willing to share a “true” moment as opposed to the “perfect” moment we often share on Instagram (which is put up on your wall until you take it down)? The “story” element also brings a whole other dimension and pushes the app past the idea of just being another way to text friends.
I started using Snapchat this morning with Paige (I made her sign up to help me figure it out) and shared what I was doing during the day while she sent me pictures of her and the dogs. I really had no idea how to use it in the first place so I looked it up on YouTube and figured it out. It was kind of a neat experience and I definitely see the appeal. For years though, I have been saying to parents that I could not think of a way to use Snapchat in schools, but after seeing how you could share “Stories“, finally thought of something. The “story” feature could allow you to show what a day in your school looks like, while also deleting the “permanency” of the pictures/videos online. It could be a cool way to reach kids at an app that they are already on.
Or maybe it isn’t.
I asked if any schools were using Snapchat and got a great response that really pushed my thinking:
@gcouros to Ss, snapchat is an adult-free platform. A school would look like it’s trying too hard to meet kids where they’re at.
— Mlle Northcott (@MlleNorthcott) October 26, 2014
Although I think it is important that we have an understanding of what most of our kids are using in schools today, I also don’t think we need to invade every space that kids are on or write “10 ways to use Snapchat with your students” blog posts. Perhaps the biggest appeal to students using Snapchat is not the app but it is that it seems to them not many adults are using it? Do you remember being a high school kid and wanting nothing more than to hang out with your parents? Me neither.
I really think we need to start paying more attention to things like Snapchat and Vine, and try to not just understand these apps but also try to understand why they are so appealing to so many. This doesn’t mean we have to use them in schools but I think it is important that we can have a conversation with our students.
Not every technology needs to be “edufied” but in a world that there are so many new things that we are still learning about and figuring out, I think it is important that we have some credibility in the conversation.