Bringing Snapchat into the lecture theatre to engage students

Dr Beryl Jones @boltew – Kingston University

Social media is increasingly being used in Higher Education in attempts to increase student engagement and improve performance.

Snapchat is an application used to share photos, videos, text, and drawings.

It is a mobile app that allows users to send videos and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds. It is unique in that all photos and videos only last a brief amount of time before they disappear forever, making the app ephemeral in nature. It has recently being ranked the third most popular app trailing only Facebook and Instagram.  There isn’t a lot of room in education for functionality that isn’t permanent but in large lecture theatres, snapchat can be used to improve connections between the students and staff.

In large groups, the class size means that some students feel far removed, less involved and reluctant to engage in the lecture. In a traditional classroom, the lecturer is the centre of attention and it is the lecturer that often asks the questions to gauge understanding.

Our study shows how snapchat can be brought into the classroom to build an environment in which students feel confident to ask questions and to overcome the barriers of engagement. The use of snapchat was conducted to support the teaching of Databases in an undergraduate second year module. The database module has heavy usage of diagrams and snapchat’s interface of sharing pictures, videos and words is well suited.

The use of snapchat in the classroom is a relatively un-researched topic. This paper will present the outcomes of the study to establish whether the use of snapchat in the classroom can improve communication between the lecturer and student and to improve engagement.