Students on Instagram at exam time

I was interviewed for a story on Adelaide’s Channel 7 News last night (thanks Roscoe Whalan):

The story revolved around some South Australian students sitting their NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) test yesterday who shared #naplan images on Instagram. These ranged from pre-exam selfies to images of the exam papers. Students had captions where they bemoaned sitting exams … to put it mildly.

Lots of the children appeared to be of primary school age. NAPLAN tests are run for students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9.

Prakky on 7 News Adelaide
Prakky on 7 News Adelaide

Most of the students no doubt shared the images as a form of solidarity, to alleviate some exam stress, and also to enjoy a sense that they’re not alone in how they feel about the NAPLAN. I think that’s a sensational use of social media, and a big reason for why social media has thrived – that sense that we can build community and rely on online friends.

It is surprising however that students were able to have smartphones in the exam rooms and snap images of the papers.

Young people enjoy sites like Instagram and Tumblr, where image sharing and reblogging is quick and easy.

I think it’d be terrific if the education sector could look at doing positive things with this such as participating in the #naplan Instagram stream itself. It could share quick study tips or reminders (being mindful of course of the culture and language that resonates with students).

What do you think?

10 thoughts on “Students on Instagram at exam time

  1. Shouldn’t happen. Poor supervision by teachers. Kids need to concentrate on the task. Too easily distracted by addictive smartphones.

  2. I totally agree. You can’t allow students to have mobile phones in exams, then get angry when they use them. Also, students hate taking exams for University just as much and the difference is that those students choose to take those classes. We have to remember that the Naplan is mostly compulsory and therefore prone to bemoaning, to say the least. Surely any platform that allows primary and secondary students an outlet for release or a sense of unity can only be a good thing, and I’m pretty sure there would be some kind of correlation between these self expressive social media sites and the decrease in pre-teen graffiti “artists”.

  3. The schools have a lot to answer for if the kids have their phones with them during exams. I think it’s a great idea for the kids to express themselves on social media about the exams, but of course not to post images of the actual papers!

    The schools can control this relatively easily, and they should.

  4. I too am surprised that they had phones with them during exams. And yes, it is a great opportunity for education departments to jump on this social media bandwagon. You know, being current and all! That would be great.

  5. How do teachers monitor students with smartphones when they have become an extension of our right arm? Do they pat them down at the beginning of each class? As all ages participate in NAPLAN on the same day, even if the test is uploaded to Instagram, I highly doubt students are going to quickly squeeze in some ‘extra’ study after seeing it. Like a lot of social media events, this was simply a craze on one particular day and I would think kids uploading #NAPLAN pictures is a healthier choice. Gr8 interview
    Prakky!

    1. Thanks Anon! I did ponder that question myself – how do schools check for smartphones? I think some students taking snaps may have been visible, but of course it all depends on how busy the supervising teacher is at the time. And while ‘spoilers’ and advanced noticed may be tricky, it opens up the question of whether any students may become savvy enough in future to share intel?

  6. Instagram and Tumblr both have an age minimum of 13 years old. Of all the popular networks, the only differences are LinkedIn, Tumblr iOs app at 17, and Kik’s Cards feature at 17.

    As for what education departments can do, it really depends on each state and their social media policies. (Disclosure: I work in a cybersafety team in the education sector.)

  7. Instagram and Tumblr both have an age minimum of 13 years old. Of all the popular networks, the only differences are LinkedIn, Tumblr iOs app at 17, and Kik’s Cards feature at 17.

    As for what education departments can do, it really depends on each state and their social media policies. (Disclosure: I work in a cybersafety team in the education sector.)

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