A few weeks ago, Audrey, one of my former middle school students who’ll be a senior next year, posted on Instagram a photo of an essay she had handwritten. The essay showed Audrey’s ideas about adolescence, the validity of teenage relationships, finding one’s soulmate. The essay expressed her thoughts, and exhibited the kind of “thinking on paper” that teachers encourage in their students. It was a heartfelt and personal record of Audrey’s beliefs.
In the endless feed of landscape shots, selfies, and artistic images that compose Instagram, Audrey’s photo of her handwriting on a sheet of notebook paper stood out to me. It seemed to convey much more than her ruminations on soulmates.
- that Instagram is being used by young writers to create and develop an audience for their written work. It’s not just for beautiful photos anymore.
- that students are finding ways to blend traditional media with the new.
- an unexpected juxtaposition of digital imagery and handwritten expression.
- a surprising use of social media to work through and analyze one’s personal perspective on a topic
In ongoing discussions about the appropriate use of social media to educate, it’s good to keep in mind that when a student uses social media, they are often demonstrating the skills they have learned in school. I don’t know about you, but seeing confident young writers using Instagram makes me optimistic about the potential for social media in my middle school language arts classroom.
Of course, social media accounts must be administrated responsibly, using a district’s privacy and safety protocols. (Click here for a link to resources regarding using social media in schools and at home.) However, with best practices in place, social media sites such as Instagram hold promise because they provide an audience and generate feedback. Engagement abounds.
I’m considering a private classroom Instagram account next year. What suggestions, observations, or tips can you share? Feel free to post a comment or follow this blog for more ideas.
5 thoughts on “#Engagement: Instagram is for Writing”
I really like this idea. I’ve used it myself to display student work, but as an assignment option is a great idea. I look forward to experimenting with its possibilities.
I’m impressed that you’ve already used Instagram to show student work. So cool! I think there are so many interesting ways to use it in ELA! I’ll keep posting as I discover more.
Love this! Love the creativity of your middle school author – a photo of her essay. It is fabulous that you are allowing your students to share, explore, and create in vibrant, new ways. I bet they enjoy your class!!
Thank you for commenting! I just attended a tech PD event today where we learned more about Instagram. I plan to write another post that further explores how I might use it this fall. Instagram seems to have so much potential!