I explored a few new digital tools this summer vacation, greatly enabled by my possession of a smart phone (finally!). I had no idea of all the fun I could have with a smart phone until I started to seek out and explore apps in earnest, even apps that are popular with teenagers.

Snapchat has been around for a while, but though popular with the students we teach, I know few adults who use it. I installed the app and started playing around with it. It occurred to me that content creation was exactly what this app was all about and I thought about its utility in getting students working towards content creation rather than content consumption. In apps like Snapchat, our students are seeking out content creation opportunities without us!

This video was created with SnapChat and Screencast-O-Matic. SnapChat enables the user to send single items (video, image, text message) to individual users or to a 24-hour rolling collection of posts in a series under “My Story.” This feature is what I used to create the video. Once created, it can be downloaded in video form, which I did, then using Screencast-O-Matic in post production to enable narration. This step was necessary because my first attempt at directly uploading the downloaded .mp4 file to Youtube did not work, the video was choppy and many images were missing. Even now, I am not sure what the thumbnail image represents, so we are definitely in the Not Perfect Hat Club today (and always).

The ability to include videos, photos, and student-generated text, complete with emojis, means students can create a project using this tool. I created the video on our drive from Laredo, Texas to Monterrey, Mexico. Though I didn’t put too much thought into the narrations, with proper focus (passion?), students could use this tool for content-related creation. I can envision a carefully planned and organized collection of videos and photos, complete with student interpretations and reflections written directly on the images in text and emoji form, possibly narrated, and submitted as a wonderful project. I will definitely be offering this as an option to my students this coming school year!

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