Today Instagram has announced the launch of Instagram Direct – finally the option to choose who can and cannot see certain pictures.
A godsend for teachers.
While there have always been plenty of innovative ways to use Instagram in the classroom, one problem that always struck me is that students who are trying to build a name or a reputation online might not want to participate in class-related Instagram activities as assigned photos might interrupt the flow of their artistic endeavors.
When I use Instagram I’m very particular about what kinds of photos I post, and you should expect that many of your students are too. They may not want to clutter their stream with pictures of text – or maybe they only take landscape photos but you’re asking them to send pictures of historical figures.
It’s important for us to remember that many of the technologies we hope to bring into the classroom are already incorporated into the real lives of your students, so we need to tread carefully to engage them without interfering with them.
This is why Instagram Direct is so great. Teachers can now have students send pictures directly and privately to the teacher without having to make it a part of their photo stream. It even lets you search for people who AREN’T on your friends list, so students who wish to maintain privacy don’t have to add you to their stream in order to send you a picture.
Instagram Direct still isn’t perfect – it could do with having the ability to build out specific lists so that we could send directly to the same people every time, but I imagine that will come down the line.
For now, I recommend playing around with it to see how the functions work – it’s pretty straightforward, but should open your mind to the possibilities you might have ignored previously for the sake of your own or your students’ privacy.
Snap on, good instructors! Snap on!