This link shows data from the US but it certainly reflects the current trend of preference in many other countries. https://www.surveymonkey.com/business/intelligence/most-popular-apps-2016/ As the class is a lab to equip students for real life, I understand that educational apps are good but we need to go beyond that.
Below I share my experience on using the app Instagram to encourage students to research, interact and share content.
Research, information exchange and collaboration tend to be usual steps in most EFL lessons. Sometimes the key focus is a new grammar point or maybe a certain theme or vocabulary or even a mix of those.
The app Instagram can cater for two aspects at the same time:
- sharing the students production visually (either by sharing the photo or video) and
- their engagement, data and point of view in the comments.
Eureka! How about that?!
Having this in mind,I realised I could use Instagram (both the photo sharing feature and the video one) during a classroom research & project activity, to keep the students' production 'alive' beyond the class time.
Check out the ideas I had with the different group levels I teach and the corresponding link to the Instagram post:
A1 level group*
Preparation for a Writing task on their favourite movie.
Students were supposed to research a poster with the original name of their chosen movies. Once all the posters were on display they carried out a simple speaking activity asking each other about the main actors, story, favourite character, place where the story happens, etc.
Students had to choose one theme from a list suggested in the coursebook. Once they did that I asked them to look for an illustration to represent it and share their views with the colleagues.
A quick video shows the themes researched by students and their comments on what it felt like to integrate the open social media to the classes.
C1 group studying about 'Passive Forms to Report Information'
This grammar & vocabulary lesson was a great scenario to integrate VR (Google Cardboard Box) so that students could ‘visit’ the locations and the reply slots to mention info they had found about those places using the 'Passive Reporting'.
As the sentences were posted I gave them feedback and requested them to post a new comment with the necessary adjustments and delete the previous comment. That was very interesting because the feedback was in real time, on demand.
There were other moments I worked with Instagram as a way to promote & showcase students’ projects, for example 'Sharing Childhood memories' (preparation phase of a writing task)
- Students can use one Instagram account for a group if it is the case that some students haven’t got one.
- As for the teacher, I strongly recommend creating a ‘class purpose’ Instagram account open to the public , to showcase students production there.
- Beware of photographing the students’ faces, it’s best not to expose anyone for a number of reasons. In my photos I am extremely careful and I tell them that there won’t be photos of their faces but rather of their work or production.
During the semester each group used Instagram integrated to the class twice. I could observe the second time was even faster as they already knew what to do. The overall feedback is that it’s something new and cool. Very 21st century language, lol!
Former students who follow the feed interacted a few times while students were posting comments and that was great!
Personally, I think Instagram has the great advantage of focusing on pictures or short films along with expressing their views at the social network speed. And talking about speed, I strongly recommend that the work to be posted d-u-r-i-n-g the class (time management is crucial here), after all, 21st century features are on demand, in real time, on-going.
When students know that their work will be shared with others it gives a clear sense of purpose to the communication.
What other ideas of integrating Instagram to lessons come to your mind? Please share your thoughts in the comments below so we can exchange ideas and learn from each other ;)
Raquel Gonzaga: Twitter @Rach_Gonzaga