Using Flickr in Language Classes

I’ve argued before that Flickr is an ideal social network for beginning and lower intermediate EFL learners, due to the abundance of short, ‘one-liner’ comments on photos, not to mention the fun factor involved. So to build on this, I went ahead and fleshed out the handout I created for my presentation at JALTCALL last month. Entitled Motivating Language Learners with Flickr, the document essentially lists practical and enjoyable activities that teachers can carry out with their students using Flickr. My intention is to give teachers some ideas on how they might use a social network like Flickr in their language classes.

Comments

  1. Nicki wrote:

    Nice! Unfortunately Flickr is blocked from China at his point, but this would work well in other locations!

  2. Marco Polo wrote:

    Looks good. Haven’t read it all yet. I got as far as the bit about students leaving comments on others’ photos, and that reminded me of an excercise I did recently: trying to elicit from students what kind of blog (writing, design, content, etc) is one that people feel like leaving comments on, I had them visit about 4 different blogs and asked them “would you like to leave a comment?” Almost all said “no” but the answer had nothing to do with the blog content or design: “I don’t know this person” was their reason.

    Darn! Another pesky cultural difference raises its ugly head to spoil my lesson plan. I haven’t done the research, but my instincts tell me Westerners (people from individualistic cultures?) will feel much less hesitation, trepidation, timidity etc about leaving a comment on a COMPLETE STRANGER’S BLOG than Japanese (people from more collectivist cultures?).

    THanks for this, Aaron, I have a writing class starting next September, and I plan to start off introducing them to Flickr.

  3. Learn Spanish Now wrote:

    Fantastic!

    I am finding new stuff (online) to further my personal and other people language learning studies all the time - but this was an approach I hadn’t seen before.

  4. Alex Case wrote:

    Nice article. Can I suggest that if you want to cover even the technologically primitive such as the average language school in Japan that you give a way of just doing it without computers at school for homework/ self-study? Thanks

  5. Aaron wrote:

    Thanks for your comments everyone.

    Alex, you make an excellent suggestion - thank you. I think many of the activities necessitate some work outside of class, but the paper certainly warrants a more explicit description of how teachers can introduce Flickr to students for self-study and/or homework. I will add it.

  6. Naruwan wrote:

    Flickr sounds like an interesting idea. I teach senior high students in Taiwan and I am looking into ways to increase their motivation. I wonder if any of your readers have experience using a group/class blog to upload photos or post links and so on. I am also thinking about doing something with Twitter. My students are really into sending text messages to each other. Surely there’s a way to utilize that in some way!

  7. Tim wrote:

    I enjoyed the article. I think, though, that it overlooks one important question regarding access to and use of Internet tools to teach language learning: Are we assuming that what we know is what students know?
    What I mean is, are the procedures for getting access to and using Flickr imagery as clear in the minds of learners with differing linguistic and cultural knowledge about Internet and computer procedures as we might think they are? What would, for instance, a person with low literacy skills in her own language do with the instructions (or lack thereof) on Flickr pages? What would members of some male-dominated cultures do with the easy access on Flickr to images of women interacting with men? What would children with special needs do with the “self-guided” (or unguided) nature of the Flickr environment? I think we all have a responsibility, when projecting our ideas about educational technology, to be aware of the needs of people outside of our immediate teaching experience, and think of the most challenging cases for application of our ideas. I don’t think I’ve found that kind of awareness in this article. Am I wrong?

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