My major project for EC&I 832 will follow my personal journey into media and an exploration of four apps: Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and Flipgrid. I am a daily user of Snapchat and Instagram, recently discovered TikTok for “research” last semester in EC&I 831 and started using Flipgrid this week with students as an educational tool. Last semester in EC&I 831, I wrote a post that explains my love-hate relationship with social media and my final summary of learning also explores some of the pros and cons of social media in short interlude videos (fast-forward through the face-to-camera speaking parts- see time codes below).
As an arts education specialist, some of the themes we focus on in Grades 5-8 include Pop Culture, Identity, Place and Social Issues. These themes have relevant connections to social media and I have had a lot of conversations with students about apps and how they are used in their personal and (sometimes) educational lives. My biggest concern is the lack of information students have regarding privacy and safe use of the apps as well as misinformation about how data is stored and shared.
For example, a student explained to me that the FBI receives and analyzes every single Snap you send, so nothing is private. And the cops read all your DMs on Instagram. Hmmm.
Although I am a fairly certain these statements are incorrect, it made me realize that I do not really know anything about the privacy and safety of our data with these apps. If I want to help my students safely navigate a digital world, I think it is my responsibility as an educator to have a basic understanding of these social media app Terms of Service and privacy implications. But as a personal, everyday user of the apps, it is imperative that I understand what is happening to the photos and information I share on a daily basis.
My major project plan will include a detailed overhaul of everything and anything about the apps: exploring and understanding the app platform, Terms of Service, privacy agreements, access to information from a legal standpoint, data storage and sharing, types of users and usage and the potential educational value. I will also embark on a personal experiential journey of the apps in a way that is typical of common users (and also different from how I already use Instagram and Snapchat). Although Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok do not appear to be educational tools, I want to see if there is a way to use these apps in an educational setting. I plan to use Flipgrid with my students over the next couple of months and learn alongside them, as sometimes I find they are the best teachers when it comes to new technology! I plan to use 8-10 weeks for the project, beginning during Week 3 (January 21) and completing my research before Week 12 (March 31) to allow adequate time to summarize my findings. I will take 2-3 weeks per app for the detailed overhaul and continue ongoing experimental use throughout the project. My draft plan:
|Week 3 (Jan. 21)|
Week 4 (Jan. 28)
Week 5 (Feb. 4)
|Flipgrid||-Use with students for a current unit plan (“Social media activism” and “activist art”)|
-Engage in some PD through the app developers and explore some of the feedback possibilities
-Connect with other teachers who have used the app
|Week 6 (Feb. 11)|
Week 7 (Feb. 25)
|Snapchat||?? Any ideas? I already use this daily with my family (mostly for Snaps of my baby)|
-I rarely use the ‘story’ option, so maybe I could start using it? And make it interesting and worth watching?
|Week 8 (Mar. 3)|
Week 9 (Mar. 10)
|-Move away from my current use (sharing photos of my daily life with a private account, mostly baby photos)|
-Create an open account specifically for my dog, Callie (yes, I will be one of “those” people)
-Connect with users using specific hashtags
|Week 10 (Mar. 17)|
Week 11 (Mar. 24)
Week 12 (Mar. 31)
|TikTok||-To get the full “experience”, I think I need an open account|
-I feel weird posting videos of myself or family, so I am also going to create an account specifically for my dog, Callie (pet accounts/videos are also a thing on TikTok- also, sorry in advance, Callie)
-Follow trends and create videos. How many likes can I receive? How can I increase engagement?
My plan will likely evolve over the semester, but I would really appreciate any feedback about how I should try ‘experiencing’ these apps, especially ones that I already use on a daily basis. I am excited to have a better understanding of how these apps gather and use our data and to help guide our students through our evolving digital world.
Thanks for reading!