Emily Durst’s lesson

My lesson plan, which I titled “Classroom X-Men Hunt” after the main activity, incorporates the use of Socrative and Instagram in learning to use prepositions of location. I use Socrative for a two-tiered collaborative understanding check of the homework. The first tier involves pairs of students checking their homework answers together. Pairs negotiate what responses to submit on a Socrative quiz that asks the same questions posed on the homework worksheet. The second tier involves the class coming together to view the results of the Socrative quiz on a TV screen, where everyone can see if there are questions most pairs missed and which the teacher can then address.

Under Puentedura’s (2011) SAMR model, this method of homework checking using Socrative would be classed as a “modification”—a transformation of a regular classroom task rather than just an enhancement. The use of Socrative is transformational because it not only saves the teacher the time it would take to evaluate individual students’ homework response, it allows the teacher to see where a class’s trouble spots are and address them in a space of time not otherwise possible—while the information is fresh and immediately relevant to students. Additionally, this method allows students to negotiate their answers with a partner, and feel investment stemming from the fact that they can expect to see group results pairs to compare their answers to. Including these forms of evaluation, according to Laufer and Hulstijn (2001), makes it more likely students will experience deeper processing of the target forms.

I use Instagram for generating collaborative student writing incorporating the target forms: students compose captions for their Instagram posts, using prepositions of location to describe where characters were found around the classroom. I also use Instagram for stimulating spoken output, when student search teams are called on to present on their Instagram posts to the other teams.

Under Puentedura’s (2011) SAMR model, this treasure hunt activity using Instagram would be classed as a “redefinition,” because the affordances of using Instagram are such that a treasure hunt activity may be reimagined as an in-class adventure involving photo-documentation, captioning, and easy sharing of discoveries in a single-class space of time not otherwise possible. As lesson content, prepositions lend themselves to visuals, and Instagram provides an easy way to incorporate visuals into the lesson. Additionally, the ease of using of Instagram makes it possible to share findings in class, and the expectation of presenting their findings creates what the Involvement Load Hypothesis terms “a need” for students to acquire the target forms, leading hopefully to deeper processing of the target forms (Laufer & Hulstijn, 2001).

I ask students to use Socrative for communicative purposes, since the homework ‘quiz’ results are shared with the class, and I ask students to use Instagram for purposes both communicative and creative. Students are creating output when generating their captions, and they are posting them to a shared hashtag feed. Using Instagram for a treasure hunt activity is in line with Meskill and Anthony’s (2010) view that CALL and MALL tools are a good fit for language learning, since language learning must involve socially motivated use of the language. Using both Socrative and Instagram, students develop their multimodal literacy, and in doing so accumulate alternative ways to seek feedback on their target language use, which can lead to increased exposure to target language input.

The final thing I will do in this rational is consider the affordances and potential pitfalls of using Socrative and Instagram in light of the six ecosystems of MALL (institutional, technological, acquisitional, pedagogical, and sociocultural). Institutionally, my lesson assumes support for use of mobile phones and mobile apps in class. Technologically, my lesson assumes a high-tech environment, including classroom Wi-Fi and TV-sized monitor, and an setting where all or a majority students have smartphones.

In terms of language acquisition, there is the possibility that students will learn incorrect forms. For example, if a student were to use an inappropriate preposition to describe a character’s location, and the rest of the students were to see it during the presentation of found characters and not notice it as incorrect, all the students may leave the class with a false impression. I hope to guard against that outcome by having set up the sharing activity as a whole group activity where the teacher can monitor and address incorrect usage.

As Pegrum (2014) points out, one of the affordances of mobile apps is the potential to incorporate synchronous or asynchronous methods of communicating. Here, a pedagogical affordance of the asynchronous (but wide-audience-reaching) sharing of posts on Instagram allows the teacher to catch and note down incorrect uses of prepositions as the posts come in to the hashtag feed, and so get ahead of the students presentations and be ready to adapt and, for example, add in a time for groups to double-check their captions.

One potential sociocultural pitfall of asking students to use Instagram in the classroom is that they might be resistant to receiving corrective feedback on writing they produce on a social platform. One step I take to counter this attitude is to ask students to create separate Instagram accounts for class use. Not only does this protect their privacy, it creates space between the photos and captions that are personal to them, and photos they take and captions they write for class.


  • Laufer, B., & Hulstijn, J. H. (2001). Incidental vocabulary acquisition in a second language: the construct of task induced involvement. Applied Linguistics, 22(1), 1-26.
  • Meskill, C., & Anthony, N. (2010). Teaching languages online. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Pegrum, M. (2014). Mobile learning: Languages, literacies and cultures. New York, NY: Palgrave-MacMillan.
  • Puentedura, R. R. (2011). SAMR and TPCK in action [web slides]. Retrieved from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2011/10/28/SAMR_TPCK_In_Action.pdf

Classroom X-Men Hunt

  • Setting: beginner level integrated skills EFL course in a university somewhere in the Middle East
  • Lesson context: In the previous lesson, the students practiced their household and classroom objects vocabulary by playing a bartering game. Later students were introduced to 10 prepositions indicating static location (across from, around, behind, below, beside, between, in, on, over, under). Where students were familiar with the motion meanings of the prepositions, the difference was demonstrated (e.g. the light hanging over the desk vs. jumping over the desk).
  • Language objectives:
    • Reinforce household/classroom objects vocabulary.
    • Solidify prepositions indicating static location.
    • Practice narrative past tense with “found”.
  • Time: 75 min


Previous lesson’s HW:  1) To fill in a worksheet that asked students to choose the appropriate prepositions based on pictures, and also to write in (not-given) prepositions based on pictures. 2) To create a separate Instagram account for use in class.


What students are doing What teachers are doing Materials

What this activity accomplishes

5-10 min Students come into class, greetings are exchanged, any news is shared, and then students follow the instructions written on the board to open Socrative and Instagram on their phones, close everything else, and then place their phones face down on the table and take out their homework. Before class: T has set up TV to display Socrative quiz results and  Instagram. T has written instructions on the board: Open Socrative and your class Instagram account. Take a picture of your homework and post it to Instagram with #nov1hw. Place mobile face down.

T assists students who have not posted homework pic after 5 min, and then puts students in pairs to go over the homework worksheet.

-Dry erase board




-Allows students to settle in and prepare for the day’s lesson.
10-15 min The Socrative quiz questions are the same questions students did for HW. Students work in pairs to go over the HW and submit one response per pair for each question. After answering all (or most) questions, students see class results on TV. T floats between groups and monitors when most groups are finished. After, the T displays the class’s answers and goes over any questions the students had difficulty with. T wraps up with positive praise and assigns students to 4 teams using http://chir.ag/projects/team-maker/ Socrative Quiz #1:   -mobiles   -TV -Allows students to collaborate while reinforcing prepositions.
5-10 min Students sit with their group.

Student teams collect their hashtag card:





T switches the TV over to display Instagram. On the TV, type #eflXMenExampleClue, which shows a picture of the classroom door. T then walks over, and finds a picture of Wolverine taped behind the door. T takes a picture, captions it “I found Wolverine behind the door” hashtags it #eflXmenFound, and displays this # on the TV. Lastly, T hands out cards (1 for each group) with a unique hashtag leading to a set of clue pictures of objects/areas of the classroom. -dry erase board


-pictures of X-Men in sets of 4 (for clue sets created prior to class and put on Instagram)

-Allows students to see what is expected of them for the activity.
15-20 min Groups study their clue pictures (5 each) and search for the hiding X-Men. When a group finds one, they take a picture and caption it with a sentence explaining where they found it, and hashtag it #eflXMenFound. T sets up TV/Instagram account to display the hashtag where the groups’ pictures will be accumulating. T instructs students to assist each other with composing the captions, and take turns posting from each group member’s phone. T monitors groups’ progress and calls out a 2-minute warning for students to finish and be back in their seats.

IF groups finish early: T instructs groups to imagine alternative captions for the X-Men they found, and models by posting “I found Wolverine on the door.”

-mobiles -Allows students to use the target language for communicative purposes both as they search and as they report via Instagram.
15-20 min Students share their pictures as they are scrolled through on the screen.


Students fill in worksheet noting where each Marvel superhero was found.

T prompts with the following questions:

“Whose picture is this?”

“Where did you find [Storm]?”

“Where was __”

Te accumulates any written captions mistakes (only involving prepositions and learned objects vocab) on the board, and goes over them after the end of the presentations. T draws students’ attention to the progress they’ve made and instructs them to take out their notebooks to record the HW.


Dry erase board


-X-Men Locations worksheet

-Allows students to practice speaking, using the narrative past
5 Students pass around the HW handout. T hands out stacks of the worksheet to be passed around, and goes over the HW. HW handout
HW for the following lesson: a prompt to describe a time when you lost something, where you found it and how you felt. It includes a emotions vocabulary word bank.