How to use Social Media in Distance Learning: INSTAGRAM
As a teacher with 12 years’ experience I have always liked the phrase «Not all classrooms have walls» and always tried to take my classes outside, by the sea, under the sun, breathing fresh air. But never have I even imagined that these words could mean something completely different today. The fact that teaching is a “challenging job” has taken a whole new meaning in the past few weeks. We are witnessing school closures all over Europe so the need to establish distance learning is our priority. We need to come up with as many creative and fun ideas and think of new ways to use the tools we and our students are already using without having to learn new tricks. Because we don’t have time.
The need to share our materials, ideas and examples of good practice has never been greater. As it is quite difficult to know just how much your students are focused on what you are teaching them if they are just watching a video or reading a text, the best way to make them participate is to engage them. This is why I like to use Social Media – because they use them anyway. On daily basis.
As an English teacher I am going to share how to use Instagram as an English teacher, but all these ideas are easily adjusted to almost any other subject.
Everyone has Instagram these days. It is a great tool to use as it allows posting interesting pictures, videos and Stories (that last 24 hours and then become invisible). It also allows commenting and DM (direct messaging) so you can be in touch with your students. Now, how to use it.
Any user can add another account. Let’s say that you want to make a profile for your class called 3B. You create a new account and call it “EnglishLearners3B”. Then you decide on several posts that cover a unit you are teaching right now.
If it is vocabulary you want to focus on, you choose pictures that show or present the word you want to teach. For example, if you want to teach vocabulary connected to travel, then you might want to find pictures that present “tickets”, “passport”, “airplane”, “train”, “traveller”, “booking”. Then you can start posting pictures that present these words (see below). It is also possible to put them in a gallery by adding pictures one by one (10 pictures max). This way your students can have all the necessary vocabulary in one place.
Next thing to do is create engagement. Your students should post comments below using words from your target vocabulary. For example:
“Our airplane was delayed so we had to take a train.
“All travellers from the USA must show their passport at the gate.”
This way you can actually follow your students’ engagement as they use target vocabulary. The pictures above were created using a great tool called Canva.
Another way to use pictures to motivate students and use grammar structures is to post a picture and ask them to comment on it in a way that makes them use target grammar. For instance, if you want them to use Past Simple, then you could post a picture of an accident in a restaurant and ask: What happened here?
Your students could write something like:
“They just heard that they won the national competition.”
“They learned that they don’t have any homework.”
The best part about using Instagram is that this can be used for any subject. 😉
More blogs coming up! We will be sharing more ideas on how your students can benefit from Distance Learning.