So far this semester I have been researching a lot on my major project and I have spent a great deal of time exploring Snapchat and Instagram, questioning myself on how and why these apps are so popular among youngsters and as an educator I also feel that it is important that we have deep understanding of the digital world and the apps that our students are regularly using. As I outlined in my Introductory blog post that I have heard a lot about these apps as my students are on these apps on a regular basis and I
haven’t used it personally but things have changed. I am on snapchat form weeks now and I guess I am somewhat comfortable with it. Earlier, my assumption of snapchat was that it’s just a waste of time and nothing productive can come out of it in the educational realm and of course it is not safe but now my perception has changed. I think the app has lot to offer in the educational sector if used appropriately.
Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application developed by the former students of Stanford University which enables its users to take photos, record videos and send them to desired individuals by adding different captions and lots of goodies. The application makes use of the device camera to capture snaps and shared using the internet. The application also permits the user to draw, add texts on the snaps and the sender can also decide how many seconds one can view the snaps (1 to 10 seconds). The application was launched in September 2011 and is accessible for both Apple iOS and Android devices.
I started using snapchat and found it fun and interesting, although the main use of the app is for creating multimedia messages like creating photos and short videos which can be edited in various forms. One can add special effects, draw emotions on the pictures etc. By holding the circular button in the app we can create a short 10 second video and can be shared, which can only be viewed by the recipient once and later the video disappears (at least that’s what snapchat claims but there are a lot of confusions in this regard and I’ll get into that while reviewing the privacy and security features)
Another interesting feature of Snapchat is its “Stories” functionality, which permits the user to combine several snaps or photos into a story which can be viewed by friends and followers in a sequential order, where every snap is only available for a day after it has been posted. I think this cool feature can be used in various school activities and this particularly caught my attention. Unlike Facebook and Twitter which is basically built on likes and shares, snapchat is built on sharing life moments and live events and these beliefs make the app more interesting. One-on-one video and text chat makes it more comfortable for the user if one wants to limit the conversation to a particular person and the chats are disappeared when both the persons have left the chat and the massages are long gone.
Snapchat has so much to offer and also poses many concerns, in coming days I’ll be analyzing more about the applications platform, its terms of services, privacy and security implications and mainly its educational value and how best we can use it in the educational realm. For now, I would love to hear about your thoughts and concerns on snapchat and it’s great that from these posts I am getting a chance to review and document my thoughts about a very popular, very talked digital tool.