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The Never-Ending EyeI’ve started a Flickr account! I think I had actually started one up before, but never got round to using it all that much. This time, though, I am actually making use of it (you can see some snaps from a recent trip to Bilbao and some others I’ve taken with my new Digital SLR camera – you can see my latest uploads if you scroll down and look to the right). I’m actually enjoying having a Flickr account, as it means I’m thinking a little bit more when I’m taking photos. Previously I’ve been a little bit snap-ok-put-up-on-Facebook kind of a person, so I’m interested to try and take a few more ‘interesting’ photos. I’m also enjoying playing with my new camera, which may or may not have anything to do with trying to take more interesting photos… ;o)

But how could you use Flickr with an ESOL class? (for non-language-teaching types, ESOL = English for Speakers of Other Languages) Or for teaching in general? Here are just a few suggestions:

  • as a place to put photos from class and school trips – quite a simple one, I suppose, but one of the functions photo sharing sites like Flickr exist for. Those worried about privacy should note that Flickr does allow certain levels of filtering for keeping photos private – you can make them public or private (viewable only by yourself, or family/friend contacts on Flickr) when you upload photos or in the Organize & Create section – just click on all content, then you can change permissions for individual photos or sets of photos.
  • you could find pictures and ask your students to describe them – really this could be as straightforward or challenging a task as you want to make it. Also, a lot of the photos that can be found on Flickr are quite abstract, so simple description tasks can still be challenging even for higher level students.
  • with the previous task consider searching The Commons – you could then print off the photos and get your students to write their descriptions. Remember to credit the photos accordingly if you choose to do this.

Flickr The Commons

  • why not search for photos from your local area. Then students could see if they recognise the places they see in the photos. This could even form the basis of a task for a class trip – pick a few photos and then try to find the locations in real life.
  • if you are studying subjects like the natural world or sports, why not use Flickr photos to demonstrate or elicit different items of vocabulary.*
  • if your students are a bit more tech savvy you might like them to set up their own Flickr accounts. They could then comment on each other’s photos. This could also work well with the first suggestion in collecting photos from trips and visits.
  • if your students become interested in posting their photos online you could set them up on a project, such as the 365 project, where the aim is to take a picture a day, for a year. Find out more about this at the website http://365project.org/

Do you have any more ideas??

*This idea comes from a post by Jamie Keddie on his TEFLclips site, showing how photosharing sites can be used as visual dictionaries: Lesson Plan 13: How + adjective questions (take a look at the pdf file)

Note: I have submitted this post for the next EFL/ESL/ELL Blog Carnival that is going to be hosted at @laflecha‘s blog, My Life Untranslated. You can read her post about the carnival here: Contribute to the next ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival (#19!)

Image credit: The Never Ending Eye by won7ders on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/won7ders/231260732/