Dog filters & flower crowns: Using Snapchat as a Pedagogical Tool in Higher Education


  • Gary W. Kerr Edinburgh Napier University
  • Suzanne Faulkner University of Strathclyde



Snapchat, Social media, Pedagogy, Learning, Higher Education


Academics overwhelmingly value social media as a tool for enhancing student learning (Moran et al, 2011). Generally, academics use information technologies and social media to engage with students in a top-down fashion i.e. it is the norm to use whatever the learning technologists deem appropriate (Liu, 2010). Snapchat is a social networking platform that is reserved for communicating with close relationships and, unlike Twitter, is generally not a method for communicating with strangers (Vaterlaus et al, 2016). Thus, any effective use of Snapchat within a learning environment must finely balance engaging with students on social media to facilitate their learning on one hand, and invading their private space on the other (Woodley & Meredith, 2012). After all, the main reason that students use social media is for social engagement, not classroom engagement (Liu, 2010).


In this paper, we discuss the use of Snapchat as a learning tool, our own experiences of using this platform to engage students from two very different academic disciplines – Festival Management and Prosthetics and Orthotics, using this platform to enhance student learning and engagement in different ways. From creating ‘stories’ that help package concepts and theories to make them more accessible; to curating learning and observations from field trips; in addition to creation of learning resources, discussion groups; the possibilities of Snapchat usage within the learning environment are endless.


This paper sets out to provide participants with practical advice on how to use Snapchat within the learning environment. We encourage teachers in higher education to think about how they can creatively use the app to make learning more accessible. Ultimately, Snapchat is a playful app, and the facilitation of playful learning can help promote creativity, engagement and academic achievement among students (Kangas, 2010).