Monday, March 29
3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Room 3

Using Instagram to Engage Students and Bridge the Digital Divide in Online/Distance Learning Environments

Workshop (Live Presentation) ID: 58584
  1. aaa
    Cassandra Drake
    California State University Stanislaus

Abstract: As current circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to increase our reliance on digital tools, it has become increasingly important for educators to understand and acknowledge social media applications as a legitimate, authentic form of communication within student culture. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the utilization of Instagram for student engagement within the online learning environment. By implementing this popular social media application in the educational context, educators call upon students’ prior knowledge and place value on an important aspect of their students’ culture. The instructor will provide an introduction to social media engagement and give examples of how the application can be implemented across various disciplines and subject matter. Attendees will learn how to use the application in the context of their own educational setting and receive guidance in setting up of an account, navigation of the application, creation of communications, and applying the application for engagement during online instruction. Attendees will take an active role in their learning process by sharing ideas, creating small projects and interacting with other attendees via the application. By the end of this 3.5 hour workshop, attendees will have a solid foundation online engagement via Instagram and an action plan for utilization of the application within their area of interest.


A) Attendees will gain a functional understanding of how the social media platform Instagram can be used in a distance education setting B) Attendees will establish accounts on the platform and learn the basic skills needed for utilization in a professional context. C) Attendees will learn how to use Instagram for student engagement and community building via hands-on activities. D) Attendees will connect with each other and engage in instructor lead activities. E) Attendees will learn how to utilize the Canva application to further enhance visual engagement within Instagram. F) Attendees will enjoy guided assistance in brainstorming and creating prompts to be used in their specific areas of interest.

Topical Outline

(H-O signifies a hands-on activity) Part 1 – Welcome {30 minutes} - Greetings, introductions and opening activity – “Let’s take a selfie” (H-O) - The digital divide in distance education and how Instagram can help - Introduction to Instagram including why the application is surpassing Facebook as the most popular among young people. - Ethical considerations for application usage - Outline of workshop objectives Part 2 – Getting Started {1 hour and 30 minutes } 1) Overview of Instagram application 2) Downloading and setting up an account (H-O) 3) Basics to start up your new profile (H-O) 4) Overview of Instagram application features 5) Navigating the application (H-O) 6) Strategies for connecting with your students 7) Communication basics and finding notifications (H-O) 8) Security and privacy considerations (H-O) 9) Building your account, content and establishing your voice ~ 15 minute break ~ Part 3 – Techniques for Engagement {1 hour and 15 minutes} 1) Overview of Instagram for asynchronous or synchronous engagement 2) Demonstration of Instagram for asynchronous engagement (H-O) 3) Demonstration of Instagram for synchronous engagement (H-O) 4) Creating prompts for student engagement (H-O) 5) Introduction to Canva for creativity and visual engagement 6) Navigating the Canva application (H-O) 7) Creating visual prompts for student engagement (H-O) 8) Using Canva content for student engagement (H-O) 9) Building your account, content and establishing your voice (H-O)


Apple or android smart device (phone or tablet) with current updates installed. Access to designated App Store and ability to download Instagram application. Current Instagram profile or unused email address to open new Instagram account. Internet connection with audio and video capabilities. Basic understanding of mobile interface. Predetermined audience for intended communication and engagement.

Experience Level



Cassandra Drake has experience with social media platforms which are gaining popularity for their highly creative nature such as Instagram and Snapchat. Her qualitative research interests are strongly tied to digital literacies and visual methodologies. As a teacher educator and instructor of Educational Technology courses for future teachers, Cassandra guides her students in using Instagram to present their learning, engage with their classmates and connect with other professional educators (aka teacher influencers). Her course activities require students to create or utilize visuals and other multimodal means of communication to represent their learning, engage beyond the video conferencing modality (Zoom) and participate in their virtual community. She has curated a professional professor profile which she uses to post pertinent course/campus information, repost exemplar student work and issue prompts for engagement in asynchronous and synchronous contexts. This account is also used to guide students’ overall engagement by creating stories and networking with other campuses, departments, school districts, teacher practitioners, teacher educators and teacher researchers. She has developed ethical practices for using and engaging with social media for students and faculty as well as provided application coaching for individuals new to social media. She has aided in the content building and curation of a half dozen Instagram accounts which are used for professional, academic and marketing purposes.


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