We don’t have much class time and I wanted to make learning English relevant for my teenage students outside the classroom, so they practise it. We experimented with some iPads we were given to get students to spend more time outside class learning English, in a way directly connected to their personal lives, rather than mechanical homework exercises.
I set short tasks and challenges that the students can do at home. The students then take photos or make mini videos or recordings on their iPads to collect information about themselves, their lives, hobbies, interests, families – anything, really. They then use this information to structure their responses in class conversations.
The students find it much easier if they have pictures or video they can point at, describe or narrate – having something concrete to show allows them to be more confident and spontaneous in their interactions. Instead of struggling to find something to say in response to a question, they are sometimes bursting to show me what they have been up to with their iPads. My students are more inclined to be engaged as they are talking about things that are of interest to them.