You are here:

The Selfie as a Pedagogical Tool in a College Classroom

, , , ,

College Teaching Volume 62, Number 4, ISSN 8756-7555


Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2013 is "selfie" (Oxford University Press, 2013). At its essence, the selfie is simply a digital self-portrait shared on the internet. As with all tech trends, the selfie suffers from much hype and even more criticism. In the authors' experiments with the medium, they have found that despite its reputation for being a narcissistic expression of the individual, their students are building community through the production and distribution of the digital self-portrait. They are also developing technological skills and expressing themselves in new languages--all thanks to the selfie. The authors' selfie pedagogical techniques fall into three categories: (1) ice-breaker (two English professors use group selfies to build community in new classes); (2) translation (Latin and Spanish faculty engage students' kinesthetic learning by asking them to enact the language rather than translate into words); (3) and experiential-learning selfie (a Spanish professor assigns students to take selfies at course-related community and campus events throughout the semester). These selfies facilitate classroom interaction, enable class bonding, and encourage interactivity between students both in and outside of classroom confines. After detailing each of these techniques, the authors conclude that if students are already turning their cell phones inward, using photos and videos to create portraits, teachers have an opportunity to harness that predisposition. Teachers can teach their students how to be critical consumers and producers of online content and, for that matter, to use the medium to express things that really matter and represent who they are.


Johnson, S.M., Maiullo, S., Trembley, E., Werner, C.L. & Woolsey, D. (2014). The Selfie as a Pedagogical Tool in a College Classroom. College Teaching, 62(4), 119-120. Retrieved July 23, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on November 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.