#BookSnaps Snapchat in Education

To today’s students, annotating via post-it notes and highlighting in a book is as outdated as listening to cassette tapes.  So, how might today’s students connect to text in the 21st Century?

Snapchat! Why not?

#BookSnaps Inspiration

My son is sixteen years old, and on any given day, he spends about as much time on Snapchat as he does breathing. Just over a year ago, Kaleb’s obsession with Snapchat was driving this mommy ABSOLUTELY bonkers! I would tell him, “Buddy, surely there is something better to do!” In fact, I wanted to limit his time on this app or remove it from his device altogether. Then, I shook myself. No, I must find a way to use this social media app, Snapchat, for EDU-Awesomeness! So, I called out to Kaleb, "Come downstairs and teach momma how to Snapchat!" He sounded confused when he replied, “Are you kidding me, Mom? You, on Snapchat? No way!" But, in August of 2016, Kaleb gave me “Snapchat 101” tutoring and helped me create my first of many #BookSnaps!

#BookSnaps and Neuroscience

After making several #BookSnaps, I noticed I was able to recall chapters and page numbers of my creations--even weeks after creating them. That’s when I realized this strategy was connecting to the neuroscience I had studied in undergraduate school.

The left hemisphere of the brain has four processors that, when all firing as intended, create meaning from the text, or more commonly known as comprehension. When this occurs, an image appears in your mind. Imagery. Visualization.

However, when we create #BookSnaps, we engage the right hemisphere of the brain to recreate the image in our mind digitally with emojis and bitmojis--our students’ everyday language. By engaging both hemispheres of the brain, we increase content memory retention exponentially. After mapping out "why" I was able to retain the material contained in my #BookSnaps, I couldn't wait to get this strategy in the hands of students.

#BookSnaps Traveling the World

In August 2016, I tweeted a few #BookSnaps, but the idea of this approach was pretty much tucked away in my newly developed blog. That all changed in November 2016, when Dave Burgess, the New York Times bestselling author of Teach Like a Pirate, saw a few #BookSnaps of his Dave Burgess Consulting (DBC) books and asked me to guest post on his blog.

My reply to the Pirate sounded a bit like this, "WHAT!?! Me?! I appreciate the offer, but I'm a rookie blogger. However, you can certainly share the idea if you’d like." He insisted I write for him, and that is when #BookSnaps began to be viewed by the EDU-world. We have teachers sharing their professional learning via #BookSnaps and students in nine countries sharing #BookSnaps created by many different apps.

#BookSnaps has so many cousins-- #mathsnaps, #labsnaps, #CurrentEventSnaps, etc. There is even a teacher in Oregon, Tisha Richmond, who uses #FoodSnaps with her culinary students--the list is endless. Educators and students are finding ways to create a digital visual representation of their learning with their content and sharing it out to an authentic audience. To me, the best part of #BookSnaps is the unique REALness the strategy reveals about the creator.

Peek Into the Minds of Students with #BookSnaps

Students have a lot to tell us, but, as busy educators, sometimes we miss hearing their thoughts and feelings. Using social media can be the mouthpiece for our students to voice their thoughts. Will we overcome the fear of the possible unknown and listen to what the kids have to say--in a language they feel comfortable speaking?

#BookSnaps need not be ruled by a rubric to produce what we want, but rather allow the students to draw connections based on what’s meaningful and relevant to them.

When others tell me they are afraid of Snapchat, I simply tell them...We can eliminate access to technological tools because students might misuse them, or we can be intentional and teach children the positive influences of social media! I’ll choose the latter, and #BookSnaps would be a great start for you and your students, too!

Are you ready to create your first #BookSnap?

How To Create #BookSnaps

  1. Download Snapchat from the App Store
  2. Add your book study pals by clicking the little ghost and “Add Friends by Username.”
  3. Begin documenting your reflections as you read.
  4. Don't forget to include the author and the book title in your text.

To create #BookSnaps watch this quick little how-to video. You will be guided to navigate the features of Snapchat, create visuals of your learning and upload the images to your Snap Story and other social media outlets so we might visibly see what you’re thinking.

#BookSnaps Resources

  • If you would like to create #BookSnaps with APPS other than Snapchat or see MORE examples, Click HERE!
  • Also, for more creative #BookSnaps options, view the Resources Tab on my website.
  • Want to see student examples. Check out my Student Guest Bloggers with #BookSnaps HERE.
Tara M. Martin - Educator for the Lawrence Public School District USD 497
Twitter: @TaraMartinEDU, Blog: http://www.tarammartin.com/