There are not many messages I now send via either text message or social media where I don’t include the use of an emoji. It is becoming a cultural part of the way we communicate, making it more fun and informative, together with an insight into your emotions. Emojis have also been recently described in a professional study by Professor Vyv Evans of Bangor University as ‘the fastest growing language in the UK and evolving faster than ancient forms of communication, such as hieroglyphics’.
So if we are seeing a cultural change in the way we are communicating and expressing our emotions, then why aren’t we looking to develop the potential of this in our classrooms? If the young people that we teach every day are the digital natives who engage in this new form of communication, then let’s use it to engage them further in their education.
Before I suggest some strategies to help develop the use of emojis in your classroom, I want to make it clear that I am by no way the first person to write about this. My ideas have been inspired by many of the teachers who inspire me and it is this collaborative learning ethos that is driving us all forward.
‘A good artist understands that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original’, Jonathan Lethem.
Here are my top strategies for using emojis in the classroom:
Spice up your learning objectives with emojis and get the students to break the code down to work out what they are learning today…..instant engagement! I saw Mark Anderson present this idea of Kate Jones’ at the recent Animate to Educate conference and it had me sold within seconds!
2) Emoji Exit Tickets (1st seen via UkEdchat)
Get your students to describe how they felt the lesson went by circling their feelings on areas such as: How hard do you feel you have been challenged? How much have you enjoyed the lesson? How interesting has the lesson been?
3) Emoji Marking Stamps
Let your students know just how you felt when you read their work with these easy emoji stamps.
4) Emojis for EAL
The NHS use a pain scoring system in their hospitals to enable patients to express themselves clearly using a series of faces. Could we be using this more with new arrivals in the UK who arrive at your school with little or no English?