Snapchat Snapshot: Students Use Mobile Messaging App for Women’s History Lessons

March is Women’s History Month! When the twelfth graders in Mount Madonna School’s American Women’s History class got together to brainstorm ideas for celebrating Women’s History Month, they came up with an interesting and creative way to raise awareness among their peers, the campus community and beyond – using social media, and specifically the mobile messaging app, Snapchat.
For the “uninitiated,” Snapchat allows users to post and share photos and short videos, to which they can add captions, messages and assorted filters. Once posted and viewed by the recipient, the posts disappear within a few seconds. Another user option (and the one employed for this project), is for the sender to add the posts their “story,” where the message will remain for 24 hours and can be viewed and reviewed multiple times.
“Almost everybody [in our generation] uses Snapchat,” said senior Cameron Bess, who serves as technology editor for the project. “We were inspired by this platform because it’s a convenient and accessible way to get information out, and there are tools available for customizing it.”
Throughout the month students have been creating and placing posters around campus that highlight different eras and topics in women’s history. Their first poster focused on American colonial era women and included art, quotes, and trivia about colonial women’s legal status.
For this collaborative class effort, students took turns researching historic periods, making posters, creating audio accompaniment, with one eleventh grade student (who is not a student in this senior elective course) even doing a “guest cameo” voice over for one of the messages; while on another week a sophomore (also not a student in the class) submitted a video for sharing. Information for the posts are sent to Bess who edits and customizes them, and then posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Tuesday posts focus on facts from a particular century, while the Thursday messages are thematic. Senior Julia Gratton studied the 1600s, while classmate Miles Wayne shared research about important feminist figures of the 1700s; still another “chat” focused on changes in reproductive rights through time.
“Snapchat is interactive and we’ve received feedback and support from current students, alumni and other people,” Bess shared.
Snapchat users can access the project by scanning the yellow SnapCodes posted around the campus, or by viewing the “womens_history” Snapchat username. The project is nearing its conclusion, but if you act quickly, there’s still time to engage with the students’ Snapchat project; their final message will be posted on Thursday, March 24.
“The Snapchat project took on a life of its own as the students came up with a schedule for posts and signed up to research different topics,” commented high school history teacher Tiffany Wayne. “I love that they chose a platform that they and their peers already engage with on a daily basis and I’m proud of them for researching topics beyond what we’ve actually studied in class. They’ve shown a lot of initiative and worked so well together as a group!”