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Multilevel Activity Using a Digital Camera and a Computer

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Computer(s), Digital Camera, Word Processing Software

Activity Description

This is a team activity in which students use a digital camera* to record a series of steps in a process (fixing a car, going to the doctor, preparing a dish/meal, etc.) in order to create a labeled picture sequence (storyboard) for use in other language learning activities. See the PDF file (above) for the complete lesson plan.


  1. You will need at least one digital camera and computer for this project.
  2. Demonstrate how to use the digital camera, including how to get good shots, and pre-teach the basics of the word processing program you plan to have students use.
  3. Create a card listing a different series title, (e.g., How to operate a fax) for each team of four to five students.
  4. Also, teach students phrases for communicating on teams (Did you say...? What do you think?) so that they will use English when working on the task.


  1. Demonstrate a sequence of actions that relates to the lesson focus. For example, if students are developing consumer skills, act out a sequence that shows how to locate an item in a store or how to return an item.
  2. Elicit the steps in the sequence from the class and write them on the board.
  3. Form teams of four to five students and assign roles: director, recorder, photographer(s), and timekeeper, and explain to students their roles and duties.
  4. Distribute cards with series titles related to the lesson topic to each team, e.g., How to operate a fax machine, How to make a photocopy, How to send a text message, etc..
  5. Explain that students will brainstorm the list of steps necessary to accomplish the task on their card, then come up with the types of pictures they could use to illustrate each step. Show two sample picture series, one where students are using realia and one where they are simply acting out the situation.
  6. Set a time limit. Have teams complete their brainstorm and then reach consensus on the photos they will need for each step.
  7. Provide time for students to take photos with the digital camera and insert them into the word processing program. (This can occur over a period of time.)
  8. Assist students as necessary and print up each team’s storyboard.
  9. Follow Up: Have teams read through each other’s storyboards and practice giving and following commands from the storyboards; writing and/or asking questions based on the storyboard; and/or role-playing the scenes depicted on the storyboards.

Teacher Tips

  • * This lesson can also be done using a regular camera. Have students paste their picture sequences onto blank sheets of paper, then label them.
  • Students will need to know how to download pictures from a digital camera using a memory card or USB cable and how to use a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, including how to open the program, insert photos, re-size images, and add text.
  • They will also need to know how to save, and if desired, print their documents.

More Ways

  • This lesson can be conducted in the same manner for many different topics (how to be a good student; how to do my job; about my family; about where I live; a tour of our school; how to make friends; how to improve your English; how to operate various types of office equipment/machines; how to have a successful job interview; how to return clothing/other purchased goods; how to avoid accidents and injuries at home and at work; how to perform basic first aid procedures; how to use a laundromat. etc.).
  • Additionally, students could create a slideshow, using presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, for this project. (See the Example PowerPoint above.)



  • Beginning Low
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High


Basic Communication

  • (0.1) Communicate in interpersonal interactions

Basic Communication

  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.1) Identify or demonstrate effective skills and practices in accomplishing goals
  • (7.5) Understand aspects of and approaches to effective personal management
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.