Using the Camera in a Cell Phone: Lesson Ideas

Ideas from Susan Gaer
  • Take a picture of something in your closet that you value. Describe it and write why you chose it. See Lesson Plan for this activity
  • Take a picture of someone in your family. Describe the person and write why you chose him or her.
Ideas from Marian Thacher
  • like take a picture of your favorite fruit, or a fruit from your country, or something in the grocery story that you would never buy, a car you wish you had, a street sign, a sale sign in a store (math lesson). If the photos are sent to the teacher, or to picasa, you could make a matching or bingo game out of them.

Ideas from Steve Quann (Group Lessons)

  • Guess What it is?
    A portion of an object is taken with the class guessing. Or better yet teams go and find the object, take picture of it and the first one to get it to the teacher wins!
  • Small Group Frames a Shot: In groups of three, one person being the photographer the others pose for a shot. For example for beginners, two sit and talk at desk. Class sees the image and generates possible things they are doing and tries to guess what they were intending to act out. Just talking chatting or interviewing for a job. More advanced could be what did they just do or have been doing? Or act out an idiomatic expression. Raining cats and dogs? hmm Might need some blackboard drawing for background. :-)
  • What emotion am I feeling?
    Students snap shots of various emotions class guesses what they are feeling
  • What wrong with this picture?
    Students create a scene where something is out of place and class has to identify what is wrong.
  • Believe It or Not?
    After students are comfortable with the camera have them be on the look out for unusual things they see and take a week to see how many they can capture in their community or around the house.

Ideas from Carla Arena

Wood has a lot of character and variety. Take a photo of something wooden. In small groups, you will describe the objects using descriptive adjectives.

Ideas from Geoff Stead

Several years ago we built the MediaBoard, which enabled tutors to set up a mobile (visual) message board, and cell-phones to post pictures onto different zones of the board. The concept itself is fairly simple, but teachers found an amazing range of activities they could do with it:
  • treasure hunts: students had to follow a printed out map and clues, sending messages (and pictures) of their answers as they navigate the map. all results get collected together onto the central map space (on a web page)
  • e-portfolios: students on a work-placement were uploading photos taken with their phones, and allowing their peers / teachers to post comments against the pictures
  • personal diaries: similar to the above, but more personal. Not open to peers, or comments.
  • induction packs: new students scanned in a map of their school, the ran around with their phones, interviewing / photographing / recording all sorts of details which were sent to the correct zone on the map. Over a few weeks this turned into a very valuable interactive map of the school, as well as being as fun learning experience
  • building phrasal glossaries: english language students interviewed native speakers to find out phrases that used parts of the body, then took pictures of the part, and posted it onto the correct part of the picture (by phone). Later, the class looked at the collaborative glossary, and spoke about the phrases.
  • there are quite a few other ideas too - some on one of our partner sites in the UK (, some on an old promotional site ( and some on the moblearn blog:
I am sure that most of these scenarios can be done equally well with the many free tools that let you share pictures from your phone - I hope these ideas help.