Instead of fighting to keep students off of their cell phones and looking at their books, one professor is meeting his class where they spend much of their time: on mobile app Snapchat.
The app allows users to post or privately share videos and photos for 10 seconds before the images disappear—and it's quite popular among students. Snapchat has about 100 million users globally, and 77% of college students use it on a daily basis, according to one estimate.
At Marist College, adjunct professor Michael Britt decided to leverage that dedication by incorporating Snapchat videos into his study materials.
"It's throwing [the material] in your face repeatedly through the semester," he says. "Students need to learn to the extent that they're not just learning or cramming the night before."
He estimates about 90% of his introductory psychology students watch his videos, which generally consist of real-world examples of concepts he explained in class. For example, one video showed a soccer game he attended. In the video, Britt re-explains the concept of de-individuation, which the fans represent.
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"It takes effort not to be constantly checking your Instagram, Facebook[,] Snapchat, whatever else you use," says Samuel Nast, who took Britt's class last semester. "But if you can turn it all into a learnable moment it's not just distracting, it's also useful and productive."
However, Britt still prohibits Snapchat in the classroom itself (Lee, "nprEd," NPR, 3/29).
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