Tuesday, January 14, 2014

7 curious uses of SnapChat in learning

What is SnapChat?
A photo messaging service that allows you to send an image that only lasts for 15 seconds on the other person’s device. 450 million are sent a day (70% users are female)! It was invented to avoid the whole archiving of your every communicated text and social media post. It has been phenomenally successful. Be aware that, although the image is deleted, and it is difficult to screen grab (the sender knows if you try) but someone can still take an image of the screen using another phone.

1.     Massive use. The main users are 13-23 – which coincides almost exactly with post primary education group.
2.     Selfie learning. Famous for encouraging ‘selfies’ it can be used to snap anything in a learning task and encourages quick feedback from tutors or peers.
3.     Failure is fine. As it’s not saved and archived, it is suited to tasks where failure is part of the learning process and as the learner knows that the evidence will disappear, encourages evidence of failure.
4.     Add text & drawings. You can add text (up to about 40 characters) and drawings (can also be used to scribble questions) to annotate or make extra points on tasks.
5.     Group questions & answers. Group feature means tutor can send questions to groups and ask for quick answers as video (by student). Just write a question on papaer, snap and send. I like the idea of a spoken video reply. Note that this 15 second limit forces the student to think and then be succinct. There may also be ways to use it for authentication - is the student really who and wgere they say there they are?
6.     Group spaced practice. Group feature means tutor can send spaced practice reinforcement points to groups, again asking for quick replies on video (up to 15 seconds) to make sure the student has thought about the point.
7.     SnapChat Stories. These stories allow users to record a number of images and videos, up to 10 seconds, giving you longer, sequences of Snaps. It remains for 24 hours, when you can view it repeatedly and is then deleted. This can be used for more substantial learning tasks.

Ok, maybe this is a stretch but I’ve been trying it, and I think it works. New, mass adopted consumer services should always be considered for learning. This is not to say that they are always appropriate or will always work but SnapChat is worth a try, if only because it’s quick, fun and easy. The difficulty is in getting people to use something that’s used only for fun, for learning. Or we can make learning, fun?

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