Students create individual or class image banks to record the vocabulary they study in class.
Level: Beginner (A1) - Lower intermediate (B1)
Interaction: pairs, groups, whole class
Aim: To create and review vocabulary via digital images of lexical sets.
Language focus: lexical sets (any)
Technology: students’ mobile phones (with camera) or digital cameras
Before the class
Check whether all your students have mobile phones with the capacity to take digital photos or a digital camera. Most low-end mobile phones these days can take photos. If students don’t each have a mobile phone or a digital camera, put them in pairs for the activity with one phone or camera per pair.
If your students are unable to leave the classroom for this activity, bring in magazines and books for Step 3 below.
If you plan to do the Follow up and Variation activities below, set up a class account in the photo-sharing site Flickr.
1. Ask students about the vocabulary topics you have studied in the course to date. Elicit a list of topics, and put them on the board. At lower levels, typical vocabulary topics will include: food, clothes, transport, physical appearance, shopping, house and furniture, family, jobs, hobbies, weather …
2. Tell students they are going to create a digital word bank around a topic, either individually or in pairs (see Before the class above). Students choose a vocabulary topic from the list you created on the board in Step 1 (or assign one topic per student/pair). Students need to take ten digital photos, with each photo representing a different word in their topic. For example, if a student chooses the topic of clothes, he/she could take photos of: shoes, trousers, a shirt, a jacket, etc.
3. If possible, allow students to move around the school to take their ten photos. Give students a clear time limit in which to take their photos e.g. seven to ten minutes. If you are unable to allow students out of the classroom, give them access to magazines or books, so that they can take photos of objects in their chosen topic. Alternatively, limit the number of topics in Step 1 to those that can realistically be represented by objects found in classroom.
4. Put students into groups of four to six and ask them to show their ten photos to others in the group on their mobile phones or cameras. Group members need to guess the vocabulary topic and provide a word for each photo.
5. Conduct class feedback. Ask students: Which vocabulary topics did you choose? Which words were represented in your photos? Check spelling and pronunciation of these words as you review them and get students to note the words down in their notebooks as a review activity.
If your students have access to computers at school or at home, or can access the internet via their mobile phones, ask them to upload their photos to a class account on a photo-sharing site such as Flickr. Create sets in Flickr for each topic and ensure that students add each photo to the correct vocabulary topic and that they tag the photo with the name of the set and the individual lexical item (e.g. clothes, shirt).
If you have a computer, projector and internet connection in your classroom, use these student-generated digital word banks to review vocabulary areas in future classes. Choose a topic set in your class Flickr account (e.g. clothes), show the students photos that appear and elicit the words for each photo. You could do this with students in teams as a competition at the beginning of class over several weeks, choosing a different vocabulary set each time.