Amy Traggianese | February 2018

Increase Student Learning with Social Media

You’re probably reading this and thinking, “Wait a minute… social media can INCREASE student learning? No way!”

I think it can! One of my SLOs this year ties visual art, ELA and social media together to increase student learning.

SLO rationale:

  • Students will demonstrate proficiency and fluency in their ability to meet the literacy demands of an interconnected world.
  • Students will share what they create in the art studio.
  • Students will have a global audience to share with on Instagram.
  • Students will practice digital citizenship.

Social Media in the Classroom?

Children in my classroom will create art, write about it, share it while practicing digital citizenship, which is one of the ISTE Standards for students. Students don’t have to create work just for the teacher anymore, they can go beyond the walls of their classrooms. After all, digital tools help students engage with a broader, global audience.

Will this global audience increase proficiency and fluency in student communication about their art creations? I think so. Through this SLO, I hope to show student growth in art making, art vocabulary and speaking, listening and writing.

All students need practice in communication and self-reflection of their learning process in all subject areas. In my art room, I have students write artist statements about their work and then discuss their art process with peers. Critique during a gallery walk has always been a place for students to learn from each other, but something was missing.

Taking the next step

So I decided to go to the next logical step: connect my students to a global audience to share their work and practice and learn how to be good digital citizens. I started an Instagram account for our school’s art, music and PE departments a few years ago. We get a lot of “likes” and a sprinkling of appropriate comments here and there, but that is it. Then, I decided it was time for students to post, which led me to find other classrooms to follow. Now students can see images and appropriate news from other classrooms all around the world in our Instagram feed.

Instagram “papers” for student practice

At first, I modeled how to post to Instagram for each class, using my iPad projected through my teaching computer. I display the image up on the board with Reflector. This was important for all of my students to see because only a few of them have their own Instagram account. I had all students write out what they’d like to post with their artwork. I reviewed and okayed it before they posted.

An instagram post by a student. Click on the photo to see more!

So far this year, some students in each class have posted to Instagram. I have noticed that students are putting more time and effort into their creations and they want to share online and interact with the world. They are also taking their time to think through what they want to write.  

Good Digital Citizenship

Ultimately, teachers always help students make wise choices and be kind, in person. But we need to expand this and help students be good citizens online too. In the last few months, my students have been very excited to share with the world. Here’s a great post by Dyan explaining student voice and the power of an audience.

About the Author

Amy Traggianese has been an elementary visual arts educator in CT since 1995. A former kindergarten and first grade teacher, she has over 30 years of arts integration experience. Amy specializes in integrating language arts, math, science and technology into the choice art studio. She is an arts integration coach for The Institute for ARts Integration and STEAM. Amy is an active educator voice on Facebook and Twitter and loves a good Twitter chat. Connect with her on social media or at