Like many adults, Bill Selak had written off Snapchat as a questionable app that some kids use to post inappropriate content. That was until he took some time to figure out the popular social media platform for himself.
Now Selak, director of technology at Hillbook School in Los Gatos, California, says Snapchat may be the best app ever created to help educators share their stories. Unlike text-heavy Twitter, Snapchat is visual. Rather than Facebook’s approach to curating your life’s work, Snapchat lets you simply share a moment. Plus, it’s authentic, creative and downright fun.
That’s why Selak has turned to Snapchat to share his story, his learning, his thoughts and his practice as an administrator with his education colleagues.
Bill Selak shares insights on using Snapchat as an educator in his ISTE 2016 Ignite presentation.
“What I love most about Snapchat is that all of your snaps expire in 24 hours. I no longer feel this pressure that it needs to be a high-quality photo that’s Instagram-worthy. Snapchat is less pressure. It’s almost refreshing to let go of that high bar that is now Instagram,” Selak says.
Using Snapchat, he shares more often, even if the posts are a little blurry or less professional. And he’s finding that sharing exactly what he’s doing day to day is very powerful. He posted a picture of his hands holding a roll of Velcro on a day when he was installing Apple TV in a ceramics room. It was just a look at one of the many things he does in a day.
“When I first became an administrator, I noticed there weren’t a lot of administrators sharing what they were doing,” he says. “They were sharing what was happening at their schools or what teachers were doing.”
Now a true Snapchat believer, here are the reasons Selak thinks Snapchat is a great way for administrators to share their practice:
It gives a glimpse of the day to day. Snapchat makes it easy to show how you’re spending your time — either by sharing what’s happening at your school or the technology you’re working with.
It tells a chronological story. By using Snapchat’s Story feature, you can compile snaps to create a narrative that spans a 24-hour period. Snaps appear in chronological order with a beginning, middle and end.
“I try to think about creating a mini-movie every day,” Selak says.
It’s fun. Snapchat provides a platform for sharing some fun and being a little silly, thanks to its effects and features like face-swapping, stickers and drawing. Plus, Snapchat is the only social platform where users see their own feeds first, whereas other platforms show you those you follow. “It made it easy for me to see myself and get comfortable with it,” Selak says. “I might not do a YouTube video of myself for eight minutes, but I will do Snapchat.”
It provides an opportunity to coach colleagues. Think of it as show-and-tell for administrators. If you use Snapchat to share your practice, create camaraderie or even just get a laugh with one of Snapchat’s creative filters, you’re opening the door to coaching colleagues on the uses of social media.
It allows you to share how you’re feeling. Once again, filters come into play here. Want to let your followers know how you're feeling or how your day went? Turn to Snapchat. Selak applied the old man filter to a snap to show how he felt on the first day of school. His followers could relate.