Pictures taken by learners, shared via WhatsApp

Photos taken by learners
Photos taken by learners on mobile phones

Another one from my IH Barcelona ELT Conference session earlier this month, both ideas tried out by two former colleagues, Kate and Rachel, with teens.

Left, above, the idea was taking photos of anything at all of interest found in shop windows; right, the idea was to photograph anything on the theme of Halloween, with learners competing to produce "the best" photo.

To share the photos taken for these and other photo sharing projects, WhatsApp (hugely popular in Spain) and Edmodo were used (though quite a lot also ended up on the learners' Facebook pages).

What we saw was that the amount of English produced was often a little limited, which was disappointing. "Cool!", "Wow!" and "Yuck!" were probably the most frequent comments produced, though Edmodo seemed to produce rather longer, more careful interventions.

On the other hand, sharing the photos they'd taken themselves really got people excited and helped "gel" the groups back in September when most of the kids didn't know each other.

Example created to demo to learners what they had to produce

Above, a different project which did seem to produce a lot more in the way of language (surely any language teacher's #1 objective!).

As seen in the example, the learners (in small groups of 3 or 4) had to produce a series of images of one or more of them pulling silly faces, and link them together in some way in the captions.

The pictures were shared first via an Edmodo group and commented on by peers (who suggested what the expressions on the faces were supposed to be); the captions were then written and put together, with the pictures on a single PowerPoint slide, as in the example.

Lots of fun — and lots of language, too, provided you insist on the group work as well as any "photography" all being done in English.

Thanks, again, Kate and Rachel.

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