A picture is worth a thousand words. This motto has never been so true as in the twenty-first century, in which the communication by images often replaces the use of words. In the era of digital photos, emojis, gifs, videos and boomerangs, communicating ideas through images has even gained a specific name: picting.
According to university professors and researchers Cathie Norris and Elliot Soloway 90% of the time elementary school students spend in school in the United States is spent on text-based materials and only 10% of the time with image-based study. Outside the classroom, students’ behavior show that their preferences are exactly the opposite: 90% of the time is spent on viewing and interacting with pictures and only 10% on texts. That indicates that, regardless of the will of educators and the curriculum of schools, students are building their information consuming habits based on digital media and social networks. And if schools want to make relevant content to these students, they must struggling with new media and start using them in favor of education.
Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat are three of the most used image-based applications nowadays. With creativity, they can maximize teaching, making content more attractive and promoting more integration among students. Check out some possibilities:
Instagram: showing the backstage of the classroom, the step by step of works and projects, highlight student initiatives or to create challenges involving images, similar to Instamission and other projects already existing.
YouTube: creating longer content, with more complex productions. How about keeping students up to date on the latest political and historical facts by asking them to create their own television news? Or replace written summaries of books with video reviews? Science, physics, and math lessons can turn into small tutorials, and even annual presentations can gain a new format through YouTube.
Snapchat: because it has a more ephemeral feature – videos last for only 24 hours – Snapchat can become a tool to comment on classes, give grammar tips and small reminders. Students can also use the app as a channel to make their own recommendations for cultural activities, books, and websites, for example, or help on each other’s questions.