Instagram in Education


How do you best connect with students using technology? In particular, I’m interested in how to engage Generation Z using social media for a variety of purposes. That’s why I took it upon myself to launch an official school Instagram account for Whalley Range 11-18 High School.
In our latest student technology survey, we found that 45% of students are actively using Instagram, although I believe the actual number is higher. This is only bettered by WhatsApp (61%), Snapchat (63%) and YouTube (82%).

As a school, we’ve been creating and sharing informative YouTube Content for 6 years. During this time, we’ve amassed an impressive 302,709 views and 421 subscribers. From this, and discussion with students, we know that students are engaging. However, it’s not a regular information stream.

Our communications strategy sees us successfully engage with parents via Facebook and the community via Twitter. This is where Instagram fits in perfectly to our communication pyramid. Since the launch of our account in February 2017, we’ve amassed 461 followers that are predominantly current students.

Are all students keen? Not exactly.

Why would I follow my school on Instagram?

It’s a good question. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Key information
  2. Celebrations of student achievement
  3. Motivational messages
  4. Revision tips
  5. Student-generated content
  6. Competitions
  7. E-Safety guidance

We’re achieving engagement, which is the whole purpose. The analytics demonstrate the significant numbers for views and likes. Currently, we have commenting disabled on our posts but in the future, I don’t see a reason why we can’t open this up? As educators, it’s important for us to model good practice on social media and the number of staff that are using it in a professional capacity is pleasing.

I’ve also just launched a revision account for the Creative iMedia course that I teach, with the intention of the students creating the content using Adobe Spark. I can’t think of many better ways for students on this course to reinforce the learning and look forward to seeing this grow.

As far as I’m aware, we’re leading the way on the use of Instagram in Manchester secondary education. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so get in touch via my twitter account.

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