How to Sign In
Engage Your Students
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Would you use SnapChat in your classroom?


While social media may distract your students from your lectures, what if you could harness the power of the apps for your benefit? Check out this article from NPR about using SnapChat to teach your students real world concepts. 


Do you think 10 second Snaps would be effective in showing your students accounting in the real world? Are there other social media platforms you use to reach your students outside of the classroom? 

Click "Open in New Window' for easier reading.

Login into MindTap


MindTap is included with Cengage Unlimited.


I actually love this idea. I already use twitter and occasionally facebook. I completely agree with the sentiment of "if you can't beat em, join em." I use cell phones constantly in my class so that my students will use them for something productive. 


Maybe I'll try this... 




I love all forms of technology and use them but snapchat worries me because in most cases it deletes itself.  I see students complaining that they missed a  golden nugget by hitting play and then not watching it or being able to replay it.  And I'd have accessiblity concerns.


So I would have to think long and hard about it.




Michael Britt here. I was the one interviewed for that NPR article and while the article does accurately describe what I did, I don't think they picked the best example videos. Here's a link to a public dropbox folder that contains more examples of the "snaps" I sent out to my class during the semester that someone who's interested in this might want to check out.


Also, I only used the snapchat videos as an occasional tool to demonstrate real life examples of what we learned in class and as a way to keep students engaged. It wasn't a huge part of the class, but certainly a fun way to keep the discussion going outside of class.



@Cengage-Community When I read the article I assumed it was you!! Thanks for sharing the dropbox.. this was exactly how I Invisioned this and have already spoke to some former students about doing this in my classroom. They all really liked the idea and I think I will try it. Did you have any students who didn't want to add you on Snapchat? How did you do that-- class snapchat and just add pics/videos to your story? 



Glad you like the idea.  It's fun to do and, since I spread the videos out across the semester, I like to think that the videos helped with "distributed practice".


No problems with students adding me on Snapchat.  I did, however, promise not to follow them back so they wouuldn't feel weird about it.  That said, a few students actually asked me to follow them so that they could actively community with me through Snapchat.  That worked well too and nobody took advantage and snapped me as constantly as they snap their friends (thank god).


Yup - they just followed my snapchat account and I snapped whenver an idea hit me that I wanted to share with them.  I didn't add them to my story but you could do that.  


Like @Cengage-Community, I like to use SnapChat  for Real- World examples. I'll find interesting examples of computing content and send to my students in video or pictures on Snapchat.


Ok Sandy, so now I'm trying to picture this: you take Snapchat videos of computing an example? 😉


Our networking example will send pics of wiring or electrical boards and say what's wrong with this picture - for example, what Network Performance Problems could be Caused by Improper Cabling?


Huh - my first thought was "No way - this sounds like a terrible idea!" but after reading through it that's rather clever.  In statistics we're all about making decisions when you don't have all the information.  It's easy to have variety and real life application.  It wouldn't be hard at all to find snippets of real life questions to Snapchat.

I think I know that person but I'm not sure - should I say hi?

This Chinese food has been in the fridge for a few days, should I still eat it?

These two Netflix shows look interesting, but which one do I predict will be better?


I saw something on TV recently that made me think about statistics in real life.  I guess I could have made a Snapchat post out of it but I wasn't sure what the answer to my question would be.  Here's what I saw:


On the TV show the Late Show with Steven Colbert he was talking about the recent $1.6 billion lottery that was going to be drawn soon. He said something like, "But you know what always happens - you pick your numbers and then someone else picks the same numbers as you and then you both win and you have to split the money.".


Colbert's (humorous) solution to this problem: buy two tickets using exactly the same numbers. That way he'd only have to share the winnings with himself.


I thought this was funny as well as a misunderstanding of how probability works. I might have quickly snapped the TV set, but to be honest, I wasn't sure how to explain why Colbert's idea is nonsense! Guess I need to brush up on my own knowledge of probability. Can anyone explain why Colbert's strategy wouldn't work? @Scott_Crawford...?


This is similar to the joke about the statistician who was caught bringing a bomb onto the plane.  When interrogated he said "Well, I knew that the probability of someone bringing a bomb on the plane was 0.0006 but I decided that was still too high, so I looked at the probability of two people bringing a bomb, and that was 0.00000036 and that was much safer so I brought a bomb, and that way I can feel certain no one else has one".


The issue is independence.  P(A and B) = P(A)*P(B) but if you know B has already happened it doesn't change the probability of A.  So P(A given B) = P(A)


In other words, because of independence bringing a bomb on the plane doesn't alter the probability of someone else having a bomb on the plane.   Likewise buying a lottery ticket doesn't alter the probability that someone buying the same ticket.  


I can see how using Snapchat could attract and engage students, especially students who love Snapchat and/or social media.  I share Sherri Singer's concerns:  Replay limitations and accessibility challenges.  Don't get me wrong:  For students who love learning with technology in this manner, Snapchat could be beneficial.  However, other students get annoyed with games or activities that they may view as frivolous (despite how valuable we believe the activity to be). 


I viewed Michael Britt's other snaps/examples (Thanks, Michael!).  This made me think a little deeper.  1)  Michael mentions in the article:  "The best way to learn new material is to try to personalize it to your life," Britt says. "You know, come up with an example or attach it to some prior knowledge." 


So, my idea would be to have students read certain descriptions of phrases/key terms/concepts.  Then have students give examples of those phrases/key terms/concepts that apply to them personally.  This might be a challenge for some students, depending upon the subject matter.  However, I believe that the most powerful learning opportunities that have been introduced to me have been when I go outside of my discipline and then attempt  to incorporate ideas used in other disciplines, such as Michael's idea, into what I teach.  Thus, I can take Michael's Snapchat idea and then blend it in with what I teach:  A medical legal issues course. 


I would have students come up with personal or researched scenarios that cover the various bioethical issues mentioned in the medical legal textbook (which can be highly controversial, such as abortion, birth control access for teens, and euthanasia, just to name a few).  I agree with Michael:  When we have a personal interest or reason to research/learn something, the learning process is more fun and relatable, making us feel as if we have used our time wisely. 


Sometimes students struggle with "Why do I need to know this anyway?"  Creating open assignments where students apply concepts to their personal/professional lives seems to me to be a win/win.  I have learned over time to be more broad when creating assignments;  I have discovered that students actually like this better AND I learn new things from them that I many have not known nor considered.


Great article, Michael.  Congrats for being on NPR!


Interesting idea.  I could definitely see how this could be useful

Valued Contributor

Hmmm... Hesitant to consider this approach. Although like the examples, commentary by others, and technology... I'm still reluctant to use SnapChat for learning.


I've had this desire for students to submit their thoughts to problems and questions via video, so this tool may hp with that. I do enjoy seeing my students put their thinking and learning together in videos... So maybe this is the tool? Hmmm.... 


I hear you Mike. Even when I was putting the PowerPoint deck together I thought, "If all I'm doing with Snapchat is taking a photo or video and saving it to OneDrive, why do I need to use Snapchat for that?". You don't really.  You could have your students just take videos the regular way.


I suppose the only advantage Snapchat might have is the ability to easily draw, write or place stickers on the video. But again, there are other apps besides Snapchat that will allow this.  If that's not a concern, then just go ahead and use your camera app to capture images and video and then upload them to OneDrive.  

Frequent Commenter

I will admit that I just learned how to use SnapChat a month ago so I’m certainly not ready to dive into using as a classroom tool, but I’m not completely against the idea of it either.  Honestly, in the past when I’ve had great intentions to use new and hip gadgets and gizmos, it becomes a distraction for me.  It might just be that I’m not disciplined enough to figure out how to manage it and make it a useful classroom tool?!?!...

I enjoyed the article and like to hear how others are innovating.  

Thanks for sharing. 


Great article! I could see a great use of this to engage students even more outside of the classroom. During classroom time, I prefer devices to be placed upside down on the desk .