Storytelling with Instagram

There is no question or doubt that social media is impacting students’ communication in and out of the classroom. However, it’s up to us to make sure that this impact has positive implications. As an English teacher, I love using tools that my students use to show them a different way of using it. Not necessarily better, just different, and for a different purpose. Students use social media for personal reasons. We can show them how to use these same tools professionally.

Sometimes using the same digital tools that students use helps to bridge the gap of communication. When students see that this tool can be used effectively to communicate a narrative, story or point of view, they will begin to see the power of social media and its potential to impact their lives and the lives of others in a positive manner.

I like to use Instagram to show students the power of storytelling. It’s a great tool to foster creativity, critical thinking, and personal expression.

There is so much potential when students see that digital communication tools can be used to communicate thoughts, ideas and point of views, yet they still represent their creativity and individuality.

As you can see, the simple interface makes it easy for any teacher to use, despite having never used it in the past.

It’s okay to ask students to create an account for school, that way they don’t hesitate to post their work. They can follow you and their classmates. The Direct option might eliminate the need to create a separate account though.

The power of a storytelling through images & recently videos is what Instagram is all about.

  • Select an image/video: Ask students to choose a photo that means something to them. It can be anything: Person, place, thing, animal, etc. 
  • The story: Ask students to say a little about their chosen image: Why they chose it? What is the significance of it? What does it make them feel when they see it? You can give them a word limit that way their response is not too long and not too short either.
  • Hashtags & Categorizing:Students can categorize and tag their posts accordingly. Tagging and categorizing allows them to see the significance of hashtags and the purpose of their use.
  • Sharing: Students can select other social media to share their post to once it’s published. The Direct option can also be used as an alternative to creating a class account, where students can select specific followers to share their posts with, in this case it might be you and their classmates.

Social media does impact students’ communication skills but we as educators can steer this impact to be a positive one. Students can see the benefits of using social media to express themselves as students, as artists, creative thinkers, and even as professionals.

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