Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Selfies & Self-esteem

In honor of the OED's word of the year, this month's library bulletin board is devoted to selfies.

To be totally honest, the word of the year was just a lucky coincidence. The board was actually inspired by this Teen Vogue article, "The Good, the Bad and the Unexpected Consequences of Selfie Obsession." I know my kids are selfie obsessed, especially as they leave Facebook and flock to Instagram.

From everything I've read, selfies are a useful tool in developing adolescents' personal identity, so I didn't want a board with a strict "selfies are bad" message, but I do think there are potential consequences my kids need to consider when sharing selfies. Hence our bulletin board theme - "Don't let selfies dictate your self-esteem."

I think the Teen Vogue article does a great job explaining the issue, so it was easy to translate it into a bulletin board. The iPhone frames on the board address the following topics with excerpts from the article:
  • What is a selfie?
  • Why take selfies?
  • Sharing selfies
  • How do "likes" make you feel?
  • The bad side of selfies
  • Selfie alternatives
To catch students' attention, I included celebrity selfies (side note: it's REALLY DIFFICULT to find school appropriate selfies -- put some clothes on, people!).

Has your library done anything to address selfies (and the word of the year)?

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Instagram Carrot

As librarians, we're always encouraged to ensure student work is shared in the Real World. Recently, I started an Instagram feed for our library (follow us at DurgeeLibrary if you're curious). Students either directly share their work via the Library's Instagram account (the account information is saved to my carts of library iPads), or I photograph their work and share it myself. Sharing their work on Instagram helps accomplish our mission of Real World projects, but I didn't realize how it would positively impact student pride.

Our junior high kids, like yours, are slowly leaving Facebook and finding a new home on Instagram. I noticed this trend during orientation, so at beginning of the year I created our library's Instagram account, but I've been slow to utilize it. Side note: creating an school Instagram account is so much easier and less fraught with potential complications than a Facebook page.

I finally put it to work a few weeks ago so students could share posters they created using the PicCollage app. We were able to apply class period hashtags (search #Rolfe1 for examples) and topic hash tags to every poster, so it made it super easy to sort them for presentations and grading. I thought that'd be the end of it, but I was pumped when students started going home and using their personal Instagram accounts to like their work and their friends' work. 

Now, as a little added extra motivation, I'm using the Instagram account as a dangling carrot. Students LOVE the idea of seeing their work featured on the school's Instagram account, so I'm picking and choosing the best products to photograph and share. It's proven a free and easy way to increase engagement and motivation.

Do you use Instagram at school?