A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: An ELTPics Introduction
What Is ELTPics?
The collaborative project began life in October 2010 after Victoria Boobyer (at that time a teacher in Vietnam), Carol Goodey (an adult ESOL & Literacies worker in Scotland) and Vicky Loras (a teacher in Switzerland) became friends on twitter. They were aware of the cavernous differences in the everyday life around them and thought it would be interesting to share photos taken during a particular week. Over an evening of chatting this morphed into #eltpics.
The benefit for teachers is that you don’t have to worry about copyright issues and all pictures on the ELTPics Flickr Photosets can be used within the classroom. Further information about Creative Commons Licensing and Attribution with ELTPics can be found their website – it is so invaluable as it helps language teachers avoid copyright issues. The Photosets are so easy to navigate that you will be able to find suitable photos for a theme or topic within the lesson. So how does it work and how do teachers upload their pictures for use with ELTPics?
Picture Taking For ELTPics
Teaching With ELTPics
- If you are teaching adolescent or adult learners, it is likely that they have their own smartphones or tablets and are also connected to Twitter and/or Facebook. You could get students to complete a photo hunt (such as one that I created a while back in a previous blog) and then learners could upload their contributions to ELTPics.
- Teachers could create a mosaic of images – with such tools as Mosaic Maker – so that pictures could be organised by topic or theme. Students then have to describe the pictures. It also goes nicely within a teacher created worksheet, so give it a try.
- Students could create their own mosaic of images from their own collection with their smartphone and then share with the class. Students then decide which mosaic is the best.
- If teachers have access to a colour printer or IWB, the ELTPics could be used as flashcards. If teachers are printing out the pictures, it is a good idea to laminate them to save them for future lessons. However, it is cheaper in the long run to create flashcards on an IWB and is larger for all students to see within the classroom.
- An activity that I like to include within the classroom is to create a slideshow of sets of photos and learners line up and one by one they have 20 seconds to describe the picture before it automatically changes to the next one, then the next student has to describe this picture. You could look at language beforehand and really does get students focusing on ‘getting the message across’ instead of focusing on accuracy and grammar.
- Go to the Take A Photo And … as some contributors share their teaching ideas and experiences of language teaching with ELTPics.
- Get students to replace the images from their coursebook with images from ELTPics. This is in response to Mike’s blog post.
- Select four or five pictures, show up on the IWB or as flashcards and students then have to choose the odd picture out. It is a classic EFL activity which traditionally used words but uses pictures instead.
- After teaching a class and reviewing vocabulary from the day, students could be set homework to take photos representing two or three pieces of vocabulary. The students then report back to the class the following day and share their pictures.
- This lesson activity is very simple and you could set it for learners on Friday. Students have to record their weekend in pictures and upload to ELTPics. The students describe their weekend on the following Monday and setup a slideshow for the class. It is also quite important for the teacher to document the weekend with their own photos and share with the class. This defeats the boring question asked at the beginning of the week: “How was your weekend?” and/or “What did you do during the weekend?”.
- Picture hunt: if your class discovers a new word, get learners to find a picture on ELTPics which accompanies or helps that word stick with the learner.
- Finally, students choose a picture from ELTPics and then try to re-create/re-capture the image in their own way (it is a good activity for homework). Learners then report back the following day with their images that they have re-created/re-captured and compare this with the original.
I hope this blog post has been useful and that you decide to start using ELTPics and I look forward to seeing your own contributions.