Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Forget Fancy Ed-Tech Tools... Instagram Builds Engagement Around Learning



By Nicholas Faccenda

To many teachers, Instagram may seem like a waste of time in the classroom, a huge distraction for a lot of students. But at the Met Providence High School, we use it as tool for sharing our real world learning opportunities within our advisory, and throughout our school.

Many of the students in the Galaxy advisory are comfortable using this form of social media, making posts about internships, informational interviews, even volunteering opportunities. Instagram makes it super easy to share and access photos, videos and reflections on our RWL (Real World Learning.) This also helps to show ownership of work we do out in the real world in pursuit of our own passions.

For example, for one assignment I talked about my internship with a program called Living History, where we are actual Civil War reenactors of the 14th RI Regiment. In the past year I was promoted within the program to a 2nd Lieutenant, making me the second in command of the Regiment, but it wasn’t completely official. Around the start of senior year, my mentor, Rob Goldman, gave me the paper pictured above which is my official commission confirming my status as a 2nd Lieutenant in the RI Militia. I posted this picture of my commission on Instagram in order to show how far I’d gone in my internship, also to show what sort of good things can come from persevering in the real world. It filled me with pride and accomplishment to be able to share it in such public manner.

The advisory can even share steps they’ve taken in the search for an internship. Here we have Donni, a student with an interest in fashion and barbering. This was his first ever informational interview, which is simply when a student asks questions about the field they are interested in while also hoping to find an internship mentor. Through his interview, Donni was actually able to establish a shadow day with the barber shop, where he comes in for a day in order to observe what an average day would look like as an intern. The shadow day then became an internship. This is an example of how everyone stays aware of what people are doing, giving students their own accountability and helping to show love to each other. It’s also a way for people to find interests they never thought they had or to get a better view of what their interests look like.

We also use Instagram beyond what we just do for school internships. It’s all about sharing what we are passionate about inside and outside of school. This is a picture of Mackenzie with her horse Penny after they won a competition. We use of Instagram helps to share our passions with each other easily, and to give love to people who work hard. Mackenzie’s passion goes beyond just animals though, her interests lie in behavioral analysis and she wishes to join the Air Force and the FBI. This is awesome!

This is a senior in the advisory named Hannah, and she did a RWL presentation for the whole class. She was the first to step up to the task and present her own real world learning experience. By doing this she helped to show some of the sophomores in the advisory how they can discover their own interests. She made a design on the computer and made a special stencil for it using a wooden frame. Once she had the stencil set in the frame, everyone was given the chance to print the design on our own shirts.

Using Instagram in advisory for talking about and sharing what we do in our internships has made things easier. Everyone knows what each other does and we give each other credit for it. It ultimately brings everybody closer and makes sharing so much faster and easier. This also helps to bring attention from different companies based on the hashtags that are used when we make our posts.


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Nicholas Faccenda is a Senior in the Met High school in Providence, Rhode Island. He has an interest in journalism and hopes to go on to study journalism and communications in college. His passions include history and mythology. Nick is also a hardcore Boy Scout who is working on completing his Eagle Scout Project. Nicholas is now an officially commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the RI Militia, belonging to the 14th RI Regiment.