Using Digital Cameras in the ESOL / ESL / IELTS classroom Part 2

Can’t be bothered to read the blog? Download the lesson here

This is the second time I’ve blogged about using digital cameras in the language classroom, so if you missed it, here’s a link to my first effort.

Last time I got students to take photos of different nouns, and also some abstract nouns like happiness and sadness. This worked well and generated lots of language between the students as they did the task as well as more  when they presented their pictures to the rest of the class via a slideshow on PowerPoint

This time I wanted students to really communicate with each other and try to tell a story using pictures and themselves as actors. This would generate huge and meaningful discussion as they did the task as a group and would also provide opportunities for presentation. I knew it would be hard for lots of students to understand a visualize what they had to do, so I found my own picture slide show for them to watch first.

Lesson Plan

I used this lesson with a group of older teenagers from various parts of the world.  To carry out the lesson we used: Digital Camera (many students used their phones), computers that we could upload the photos onto, an interactive whiteboard or projector so that students could show their work to the class. You also need a copy of the worksheet – which you cut up into four sections and distibute seperately: Get the worksheet here –

1. Ask students if they read comics or picture stories in the newspaper or anywhere else. Elicit their views on them, do they think they are good way to tell a story?

2. Show them the first comic slide show – snoopy and ask what them to tell each other the story.

3. Now pass them the second picture slide show. Ask them to tell the story to each other once again.

4. Explain that they are going to try and make their own picture story using digital cameras. Before they do this, it’s a good idea to go through the language section in Part 3 so that students are aware and have the tools to be able to make a story together.

5. Put students into groups and get them to do Activity 4. It might be tough for students who aren’t very creative but remind them that it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. Indeed, this is an English class and not a photography or film class so the real task is not making a photo story but using English to do so.

6. Ask students to work in their groups, uploading their photos to software that will allow them to show their images and write some captions. Perhaps the easiest program to use is PowerPoint, but there many more avaliable including Picasa, Windows PhotoStory, Windows Moviemaker or even Flickr. They could also audio commentary.

7. Have students display their photo stories to the rest of the class. Encourage feedback and questions.

– When I did this lesson I was unsure whether students would ‘rise to the challenge’ and make a story, but they were very creative and surpassed my expectations.

Further Reading

21st Teaching has some good ideas on using photo stories

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