After a fairly long hiatus, which has seen massive ELTpics growth (over 17,300 images now in the resource, 101 sets, 1,250 members of the Facebook group….though the Twitter feed is largely silent), Take a photo and… is back, with three posts lined up already.
The first of this new-burst-of-life batch of posts is by ELT author, New Jersey girl and, more relevantly, IATEFL BESIG lady, Marjorie Rosenberg, who we had the honour of welcoming as the 1000th member of our Facebook group. 1,000! With IATEFL (Harrogate 2014) not long over, it seems a good time to bring Marjorie to the blog, by way of thanking her for all the work she does for the SIG. I leave you in her very capable hands.
The wonderful world of ELT Pics
Being a true digital immigrant meant that my first introduction to a smart phone was
nothing short of overwhelming. Luckily I had bought one shortly before going on holiday to Greece and when I spotted a similar one being used by a windsurfing friend, I jumped at the possibility of asking if he could help. This turned into daily lessons at the local taverna over Greek salads and tzatziki and soon I was using Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis.
One day I noticed something called eltpics on my Twitter feed and saw they were asking for contributions for their collection of free, crowd-sourced photos. Great idea, I thought, as the copyright issue is one that crops up again and again in ELT. As I had just learned how to take a photo and then attach it to a tweet, I began happily looking about at the beautiful scenery and sending off tweets to the hashtag eltpics. Then the request came for pics showing colours and that brought a new challenge as the sea and the sand did not offer a lot of variety. Luckily, there was an extremely creative holiday-maker on the beach who began creating wonderful creatures out of the natural clay which could be found at the base of the nearby hill. The creative work went on for a couple of days and once the masterpieces had dried he took out a set of paints and he and his two young sons got to work. By the end of the first week the beach began to be filled with colourful creatures of all shapes and sizes. And I was lucky enough to be able to photograph them and send them off to eltpics.
When I got back other projects were waiting for completion and I didn’t get the chance to take or send photos but one day after seeing some reminders about the weekly topics took a look at the website and lo and behold, there were my pictures, a sight which was really thrilling to see. Although these pictures were not the first project of mine which was published there was something very special about being included in this collection put together by other teachers around the globe and I felt like I had truly arrived in the big league, that crowd of those well-known educators in my PLN.
However, work took over again and I didn’t get a chance to do much about my photos or using those of others. Then at an IATEFL SIG coordinators meeting last autumn we discussed the problem of SIGs and copyrighted materials. There had been various suggestions of how to help IATEFL members find out about Creative Commons and what they are allowed to use for educational purposes. I suggested that we tell everyone about eltpics as it is a wonderful resource. In the meantime I have learned how to use it myself thanks to the very helpful crowd running the show and will be showing some of the pictures as part of my next power point presentation. I was looking for everyday items and found a photo of a key by Victoria Boobyer and then I needed something about music and discovered a great photo of a cat orchestra by Sandy Millin, both of which will be making their debut in a few weeks at a workshop for teachers in Israel.
I think this is a truly brilliant project and one of the reasons I still love working in ELT after over 30 years is the cooperation and collaboration found among teachers world-wide. Although we only get to meet up f2f at events (at least those lucky enough to be able to travel to them) the idea of setting up a website to provide people with free, useful and fun materials is something to be commended. I am very proud to be the one thousandth person to have joined the Facebook page. What an honour!