Chief Instagram Officers

InstagramLast year I wanted to involve my students in sharing the learning taking place in my classroom. I decided to try this by creating a rotating “executive office” I dubbed the Chief Tweeting Officer (CTO) for each class. After recognizing (and giving in to) the growing popularity of Instagram, I decided to add another executive office this year, our Chief Instagram Officer (CIO). (So you know, I also have a Chief Operating Officer (COO), a Chief Distributions Officer (CDO), and a Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) on my rotating executive staff. I serve as the CEO.)

Our class Surface tablet is still designated for use by our CTO. Instead of having both social media executives share the tablet, the Chief Instagram Officer uses my iPad 2. I wasn’t completely comfortable with this idea at first. I use my iPad quite a bit, and it syncs with all my email accounts, my Evernote, my Google Drive, and all my personal social media accounts. I love and trust my students, but I’m not sure I want them to have that much access to my information.

My solution to this problem is to lock the iPad to just the Instagram app using Guided Access. I love the way the Guided Access works because I can “gray out” any area on the app that I don’t want students to use. So far it is working pretty well. I introduced the role by talking about the need to share our story of learning over the course of the year. We discussed how pictures help tell stories and what types of things we could capture and share about our learning. We also discussed the things we shouldn’t share and talked about the need to represent ourselves, our class, and our school honestly and respectfully. I’m sure we’ll continue those discussions all year. You can check out the stream here.

I’m not sure if there are other middle-level classes using Instagram, but I’m hoping we’ll find a few to connect with and follow. I’m interested to see how the role will develop as the year goes and see what my students decide to share. I’m already finding it interesting and informative to see the pictures the boys capture and to read the captions they write. I’m learning much about their perspectives.

Here are a few of my favorite images so far:


One logistical thing I changed from last year is that my officers serve for a full week at a time this year instead of changing daily. This gives the students more time to grow comfortable in the role and to become more adept at using the tool to share our learning.

So what do you think? What questions or feedback do you have about the idea? I’d love to read your thoughts. If you are an educator, we’d love to connect with you or your class. You can find us sharing online here or here.

5 thoughts on “Chief Instagram Officers”

  1. Hey Pal,

    First, this rules.

    Second, do you have any trouble with who can and cannot be photographed?

    I would worry that a picture of the wrong kid would get taken and posted to the web, causing legal drama!

    Rock on,

    1. Thanks, Bill. In all honesty, I haven’t had trouble with students not being able to be photographed. My school is pretty active on social media and sharing photos of our students online is a part of our school culture. (A waiver may be in the enrollment contract. I’m not sure.) If a parent doesn’t want photos to be taken of their child, they probably won’t choose to be at our school. After all, we are an independent school and there are many school options in my area.

      Nevertheless, my students and I do discuss the importance of having someone’s permission before taking their picture. If a student says, “I don’t want to be photographed,” we honor that request. (It doesn’t happen often.)

  2. I’m so glad Bill Ferriter led me to your blog and this posting! I just started using Instagram and Twitter with my classroom this year (9th and 11th grade English). I have told my students that this is a “Grand Experiment” and have laid out why I believe having class social media accounts can benefit our learning. We also brainstormed ideas about this during the first week. (see Insta feed for that)

    In reply to Bill’s question, I sent home a letter to parents and students explaining my choice to use social media and requesting permissions from both parents and students around images and attribution of work (see link below).

    I love the idea of having a “Chief Instagram Officer” and will have to look into the lock features on the iPad. I recently turned my personal iPad into a “class iPad” by re-connecting mail accounts to our class Yahoo address (connected to our Flickr acct, which is linked to our FB, Insta, and Twitter). I signed in under class accounts with all social media, and deleted personal text message data from messenger. But until I replace that iPad with another personal one, this does present some cross-over in accounts that I’m not totally loving. Your solution is perfect.

    Here’s my question: Have you found many middle level classrooms to interact with? In my searching, I’ve found a plethora of connected elementary classrooms, but very few secondary.

    Thanks for sharing! (Parent Permissions)

    1. Thanks for reading and for sharing your ideas, Brianna. I haven’t spent much time looking for other classes yet. I just haven’t found the time, but I’m okay with growing our use and connections slowly. I did just go in and follow your class account so perhaps we can learn together. I’ll also add your class Twitter to our list of “follows” when I get back to school tomorrow. Thanks again for stopping by!

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