Instagram is social media behemoth, and it keeps growing. It has eclipsed 1 billion users, and it’s the second most popular social media platform with teenagers behind Snapchat, according to a report. (Although one statistic says it has more daily teenage users than Snapchat.
It’s just one of a variety of social media and other apps that many students are familiar with — either as users themselves or because (as young children) their parents and siblings use it.
Instagram Stories is a pretty popular feature, and it’s a great storytelling tool. Users can capture important moments of their lives in photo or video and string them together for others to watch one by one.
This might beg a pretty common question among teachers who want to create amazing classroom experiences …
“How can we use that in the classroom?”
I’ve thought about how cool it would be to show what Juliet’s Instagram story would look like after Romeo dies in Romeo and Juliet. Or how cool it would be to show a science lab with an Instagram story.
Thankfully, there’s an easy answer to that question.
If what we really want is the experience that comes with the app, we don’t need the app for that.
We don’t need the app to create the experience!
There are lots of hurdles if you use the app …
Instead, let’s use a digital tool that students have access to …
… like Google Slides. (Or PowerPoint … whatever works for you!)
What would this look like in class? Allow your mind to wander in this direction …
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
These step-by-step instructions are from a slide deck I made in Google Slides. Feel free to check it out and even go to File > Make a copy … if you’d like! (But please, please, please … don’t request access. Just make your own copy. Thanks!)
Trying to create an Instagram story about class content on the fly can be a disaster. A little planning ahead can help to ensure success.
Using a simple storyboarding concept — a sketch and a few lines of text for each scene — helps students think through the whole process cohesively.
You could have students create a brand new slide presentation and build the whole Instagram Stories interface from scratch.
But who has time for that?
Once you’ve done that, feel free to duplicate the slides as many times as you need (or delete out the extras you don’t need).
Do you want your students to be able to add short videos to their Instagram Stories in addition to images?
(Hint: The answer is YES.)
If you’re using Google Chrome (hopefully the answer here is “yes” too!), add the Webcam Record extension by Alice Keeler. It lets you add video clips of 30 seconds (or less), which are PERFECT for Instagram Stories.
You should only need to do this once. Once it’s installed, it’ll stay there until you remove it.
Now’s where it gets fun.
Students can use the Webcam Record extension to record videos. They’re saved in Google Drive. Once they’re done recording, have them go to Insert > Video > Google Drive.
They can also go to Insert > Image > Camera to shoot a still image with your Chromebook/laptop’s webcam. (If you’re using the Google Slides app, just shoot a photo with the camera app and insert it from the camera roll.)
Students can also use images they find on the web … but be certain that they have the rights to use them. Creative Commons images (with attribution) and public domain images (no attribution needed) are useable. One of my favorite places to get images is Photos for Class (photosforclass.com).
If student shoot videos with Webcam record, they’re saved into Google Drive.
Students may try to insert those videos and they may look totally black.
Here’s the problem …
Often, it takes those videos a little time to process before they’re totally ready. If the videos show up as totally black, they’re just not ready yet. Leave them in the oven a little longer to finish cooking. 🙂
When students add videos, it’s good if they click on the video and then click the “Format options” button in the toolbar (see image above). They should select “Autoplay when presenting.”
This isn’t a deal-breaker if they don’t do it. However, it DOES make the experience more like real Instagram Stories because those videos DO autoplay.
Have students add as many videos and images as they need.
If they run out of slides, they can always duplicate the ones they have to make more …
Adding icons, text, speech bubbles, emojis, Bitmojis and more can make your Instagram Stories even more fun!
Here are some tips for adding them:
Clicking the “Present” button will put the Instagram Stories magic on display.
When in presentation mode (if you selected it), videos will autoplay. Students can click through slides with images.
Have students present their stories in front of the class on a projector or smart display!
Or … if you want to try something different …
Try a gallery walk. Have students bring up their Instagram Stories on their own devices and set them on their desks. Then, everyone stands up and walks around to each other’s devices. They click “present” and flip through each other’s stories.
If students share their Instagram stories with the class, they’ll be able to interact with each other through comments! It’s an easy way to add a layer of collaboration and communication to the activity.
An easy way to do that:
Follow those step-by-step instructions and you’ll be on your way!
You and your students will be creating with the content they’re learning in your class. Plus, if they’re familiar with Instagram Stories, they’ll be tapping into a skill they already use in their everyday lives — creating stories!
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