Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lifelong Learning with Snapchat

Spring Break 2016 started out like several others have over the years with a flight to Colorado and a happy reunion with best friends, Keri and Aaron. On the agenda: hugs, good food, and plans for local adventure! This year's week of Colorado vacation, however, included an exciting discovery of a new-to-me social media tool. I must tell you that prior to the past few years, it was becoming the norm that I would sign up for a new learning tool while in Colorado or at least while I was with my besties. In fact, the first time this occurred was when I road tripped from South Carolina to Colorado with the aforementioned BFFs, and joined Facebook during a stop in Texas. Jump ahead two years to the Spring Break Colorado Snow Storm of 2009. That's when I joined Twitter and revolutionized my professional life, thanks to discussion and collaboration with educators from around the world.

                        On the road through Texas. CVogel 2007

While my interest in connecting with educators on Twitter has waned a bit since then, it's still my number one go-to forum to discuss all things education. That said, I am not so interested in using Twitter to connect my learners with French speakers around the world at this point. Hmm. I miss the excitement of using social media as a learning tool in the classroom. I get great value out of it, personally, but I want to continue down the path of teaching digital literacy and global citizenship by way of meaningful projects and, possibly, with the help of the latest tools.

Guess what. I am happy to report that the SOCIAL MEDIA EXCITEMENT IS BACK! As of early April 2016, I can call myself an active Snapchat user! Yay! It was fun exploring Snapchat while being in one of my happy places -- Colorado! What's more (significant,) I've already invited my students to use Snapchat to learn and share, but I'll tell you more about the initial, classroom experience in the next blog post.

                              Snap logo interpretation by me!

My millennial best friend Leah, (who's my go-to contact when I need to know what's cool to people much younger than me,) told me a while back that I should join Snapchat, but I really wasn't inspired based on what I understood of its use and the lack of education-related social media posts on the tool. (It's possible that they existed earlier last school year, but none popped up in any of my feeds.) So, you might wonder what or who convinced me to sign up for the seemingly most popular social media tool for teens at the present time. In fact, inspiration came from a Facebook post by Outdoor magazine about two professional American climbers -- Adrian Ballinger and Cory Richards -- who decided to attempt to summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen and snap their way to the top. Oh my gosh! This sounded so fascinating to me, so I immediately made an account, and texted my millennial BFF for assistance with setup.

It took me a little while to understand how to navigate, add neat "famous friends," and post, but I was able to watch the climbers from the comfort of my home on the other side of the globe in the meantime. Because of the time difference, I mostly watched them in the morning before I left for work and sometimes late at night. I looked forward to learning about the joys and fears of that most amazing (and quite reckless) adventure. I won't spend too much time on my Snapchat inspiration, but just know that my own personal learning was tremendous, thanks to their snaps.  Oh, and Cory summited without supplemental oxygen on this first EVER Everest climb while Adrian, who had already climbed it 6 times with supplemental oxygen, had to turn back just meters from the top due to the beginning stages of frostbite. (See my list of people to friend below.)

From there, I decided to google famous Snapchat users to increase my learning and entertainment. Wow! I never dreamed that I would see so much of the world and learn so much! Snapchat IS indeed a great tool for lifelong learners like me to discover new things, or learn more about something you already love, through the lens of a new-ish camera. It should be noted that you can also use the drawing tool to unleash your inner artist.

                              Snap and drawing by me! :)

Here's the list of some of the people I follow. For now, my account is private, but I will probably make a school account soon, and will update the blog with that information at that time.


For Lovers of the Outdoors:
adrianjb : Adrian Ballinger - professional climber / adventurer
crichardsphoto : Cory Richards - professional athlete & Nat Geo photographer
emilyaharringto : Emily Harrington - professional climber, adventurer, speaker
everestnofilter :  the account Adrian & Cory used for the Everest climb in April/May 2016
columbia1938 : Columbia Sportswear - They share great tips for outdoor adventure along w/products.
usinterior : Interior Department - USA park rangers share what they are doing in the national parks.
thenorthface : The North Face - They also share outdoor adventures, but aren't too active, overall.

For French Learners and Francophiles:
crdepirate : Coeur De Pirate - Canadian singer-songwriter from Montréal
jeromejarre : Jerome Jarre - Comedian YouTuber from France
noholitablog : Noholitablog - Fashion blogger in Paris (Even if you have little interest in fashion, it's great to listen to her speak French. She loves Drake's "One Dance," fyi. :)
davidlebovitz : David Lebovitz - Pastry chef and food blogger in Paris (He snaps the city of Paris,
uses French vocab at times, and shares great cooking/baking tips.)

For Comedy:
batdadblake : Bat Dad - a father who dresses like Batman & playfully "monitors" family activity
itsdougthepug : Doug the Pug - All I know is that this little dog has a lot of costumes. :D
lilswag79 : Kevin Hart 4 Real - comedian (He does curse a lot, so be warned if that offends you.)

For Food: 
allrecipes : Allrecipes - one of the most well-known free sites to find all sorts of recipes
davidlebovitz : David Lebovitz (again) - It's great to see what he's cooking up in the City of Lights.
migrationology : Mark Wiens - Food & Travel - He travels. He eats. Repeat.
thekitchn - The Kitchn - site that offers recipes, tips, and other information on food-related topics

Screenshot from a video snap of prosciutto & mozzarella in Italy.

For Art:
geeohsnap : GeeOhSnap - Norwegian Snapchat artist, graphic designer and illustrator
lacma : Los Angeles County Museum of Art - snaps of art with hilarious captions
salliasnap : Sallia Goldstein - Snapchat star (engineer by day; artist by night)
(Check to see if your local museums (or ones in nearby major cities) have a Snapchat. I follow three of them in the Carolinas.)

For Government & Politics:
whitehouse : The White House - See all sorts of neat events that happen on the daily.
(Some politicians snap, so look for your favorites, too.)

Lastly, you should know that there are Snapchat stories anyone can discover. Depending on what's going on in the world, you can watch it unfold from the comfort of your own home.

Hope you feel inspired to set up an account and explore what there is to offer if you haven't already done so. If you are already snapping, who are your favorite people to friend? Please share in the comments! I would love to know what else is out there. As you may already know, there are lots of people who have not tried out this fun and educational tool yet!

In my next post, I will share the details of a Snapchat task my learners completed last spring along with student samples. Stay tuned!

Happy Snapping! Happy Learning!

No comments:

Post a Comment