Using Instagram in an Educational Context

by Jason Phillips on February 13, 2013

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The highly popular photo sharing app can deliver a variety of educational benefits.

If you are active on social websites, or have young tech users in your life, then you’ve probably come across Instagram. This application works in hand-in-hand with Facebook and has grown to be one of the most apps on the Internet.

What is Instagram?
Instagram is an online photo sharing and social networking service. It enables users to take pictures and apply digital filters to them and then share them on social networking sites. Instagram was launched in October 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mark Krieger. The service has been immensely popular with people active on social networking. At present, Instagram has over 90 million users worldwide. Instagram supports all Apple products like iPhone, iPad, iPod and all camera phones having the Android operating system.

How can Instagram deliver educational benefits?
As per Instagram’s usage Terms & Conditions, children up to 13 years of age are not allowed to own an Instagram account. However, these students can still view the uploaded pictures. Instagram allows the followers of a user to view photographs and these can also be geotagged. By “geotag” we mean that the person uploading the pictures can also share the location where the picture was taken with his friends and followers. There also exists an option to keep such information private.

Here are some of the ways in which the use of a tool like Instagram can benefit the educational process:

  • Instagram & Spatial Intelligence
    Spatial intelligence is a mental process through which the brain attempts to interpret certain types of incoming information. This information is basically anything visual – pictures, maps, plans etc. This intelligence is used very effectively in Instagram exercises. The mind judges the distance, size and other aspects of an object before clicking a picture or when viewing them, and also when editing pictures.
  • Instagram & Linguistic Intelligence
    Linguistic intelligence is all about honing students’ language skills. When a user uploads pictures, his friends and followers can view them. Likewise, teachers can upload pictures and share then with their students and ask them to make observations or provide specific types of feedback. This encourages students to use their language skills.
  • Instragram & Logical Mathematical Intelligence
    Logical Mathematical Intelligence is basically detection of patterns, the ability to evaluate problems and think logically. This intelligence can be put to use when teachers share some pictures with the students and ask them to work on them –  like cropping an image or improving its look using Photoshop. A very interesting exercise can be cropping a picture into various pieces and creating a puzzle out of it.
  • Instagram & Interpersonal Intelligence
    The ability of a person to comprehend desires, motivation and the intentions of others is referred to as Interpersonal intelligence. Teachers can engage the students in group Instagram activities like “all about my classmate” to exercise this form of intelligence.
  • Usage of Instagram and iPhoneography in Art & Photography Classes
    The iPhonePhotographySchool application helps people take better pictures with the iPhone. Understanding the camera settings and other ways to improve on picture quality can really help students be better prepared to focus on creating marvelous pictures.
  • Instagram & Intrapersonal Intelligence
    The ability to understand oneself and appreciate one’s fears, feelings and motivations is known as Interpersonal Intelligence. This intelligence is addressed through the act of allowing students to work independently and reflect on some of the pictures they capture and create.

I wish we had interesting tools like Instagram when I was in school. Education has become a lot more technology driven, and more fun. It is surprising how a simple thing like a photo sharing application can play a very effective role in education.

Are you using Instagram in an educational context? Tell us about it!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
How Teachers are Using Tumblr in the Classroom
Can Social Media Play A Role in Improving Retention in Higher Education? Research Says it Can.
Three Ways Pinterest is Getting Used by Teachers

About 

Jason Phillips is an education blogger and who also writes for technology and business related web sites. Most recently, he was written several college reviews.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

George Song July 7, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Hi Jason~
Great article! I totally agree with you. As a tool, Instagram could be very helpful for learning. Actually, my small team and I created and recently launched an app that’s specific to language learning. I call it Instagram + Quora for language learning, bc like Instagram, users can post pics and videos and like Quora, users can comment and ask questions. If you have a moment, please check it out. I’d like to hear your opinion on it. Thanks and good luck with your writing! :)

Cyril February 6, 2014 at 1:40 am

According to me, Using Instagram in the education is a very impactful way to keep the interests of the students. Most students lose interest with lectures some call them “boring”. To be the teacher that isn’t boring try incorporating technology into your class work! Thank you for the post.

Jeannette James February 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Great to see some more post re Instagram in Education! I heart instagram for education. I have written a few posts about it. See here -> http://currentsofmyriver.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/why-i-heart-instagram-as-learning-space.html You can check out our account at @foodatoakhill and the new @dramaatoakhill

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