5 Ways Snapchat Teaches 21st Century Skills

I've been intrigued by Snapchat ever since I started using it. I believe that we learn best by doing, and after spending so much time talking about project based learning, Snapchat has provided me with an opportunity to really be a student and engage in the skills that I try to help students develop.  How is this possible?  Snapchat is not the most intuitive app.  While taking photos and videos is pretty self-explanatory, that is really just scratching the surface of what is possible.  Unlike most other platforms that have a tendency towards consumption, Snapchat leans toward creation.  What you use it for and how you use it though are left to be determined by the user.  In exploring how I want to use the platform here are 5 key 21st century skills that Snapchat helps continue to enhance and develop.

Learning to Learn

Because of all the hidden features and limited information directly from the app about how to use it, Snapchat reminds you how important it is to learn to learn and really makes you think about how you want to use the platform.  Once you decide how you will go about using the app, you have to discover how you will go about achieving your objective.  Ultimately Snapchat leans toward creation not consumption.  

Research. Research. Research

Once you have an idea of how you might want to use the platform, your next step is to figure out how you will go about doing so.  This leads you to researching anything and everything about snapchat, mobile video trends and above all it sends you researching about who is using snapchat and how.  Organizing and synthesizing this information is key to further refining what possibilities you have with using the platform to engage with your audience.  

Building Interdisciplinary Networks

In searching for people to follow on Snapchat, if you are not in the business of social media you realize that there may not be so many people in your particular line of work who are using it.  So what does this do, it leads you to creating an interdisciplinary network.  Think about it, with Facebook and Instagram and Twitter we tend to gravitate towards people we already know and brands we already love.  Because Snapchat does not provide you with a list of people who are on the app (besides those already in your address book), you have to discover how to connect and engage with people.  While initially this may seem strange, you begin to realize that if someone has decided to follow you on Snapchat, they are engaged and interested in what you have to say. 


Snapchat allows you to not only send private snaps one on one, but you can also create stories.  We often hear, if you don’t tell your story someone else will, and that story may not be one you like very much.  This is again one more place where snapchat really pushes you to develop your storytelling skills.  It may not look like it at first glance but there are so many hidden tools you can use to create unique and captivating stories.  

Community Engagement

To have a strong Snapchat following you have to have a strong social media presence on other platforms, most notable Instagram and Twitter. This provides you with a great opportunity to really engage on a deeper level with those in your SnapchatFam.  Because of the chat features embedded within snapchat while people are viewing your story there is more of an opportunity to engage in conversation and get feedback.  With most other platforms, your voice is one of many in a never ending feed.  With Snapchat, you can take the viewer on a journey.

Intrigued? Want to learn more? I hope so! Go ahead and download the app (iOS or Android) and start to play around.  Tomorrow I'll take you on an in depth tour of getting started with Snapchat.