Whisper in the Classroom

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Whisper, not unlike Snapchat, is another increasingly popular app.  Whisper allows people to share secrets anonymously, accompanying each secret with a photo.  I’ve been exploring the app, enjoying its voyeuristic pleasures and discovering that many use it (not unlike Snapchat) for sexual ends. It strikes me that Whisper is an immediate, uncurated, digital version of PostSecret.  I think it would be interesting to teach them together, asking students either to use Whisper to create their own PostSecret-like visual arguments or asking them to consider how the two differ—particularly what happens when secrets are freely posted without anyone looking over them.  What’s particularly interesting about Whisper is that it allows replies.  Others in the class could offer feedback on a visual argument through visual arguments of their own. I remain a bit concerned about how open this sand box is and just who might be wandering into it from outside of class but I think it’s a tool worth examining if not indeed worth using.
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.