Nina Loback is Richmond Brazil’s Academic Coordinator for Language Schools. (You can read her complete biodata at the end of this post.)
Imagine you were blind folded and taken randomly anywhere. How long would it take you to understand where you were after opening your eyes? Relax, don’t get scared! I am not talking about anything evil here, just a cool web tool created in 2013 by Anton Wallén, a Swedish IT consultant. He used Google Maps to come up with an enticing and addictive game, Geoguessr.com, which drops you anywhere IN THE WORLD just for you to find out the location and pin it on the map.
Because it is Google Street View based, you can ‘walk’ a few blocks or as far as you wish, read signs, look at shops, pay attention to people passing by, vegetation, cars, etc. Anything and everything can and must be used as a clue to help you on your mission. The tool scores your wild guess based on how close you are from the exact location shown.
You can create your own maps or choose the maps you want to play with, for instance:
A few of the most obvious uses for the tool in ELT would be to:
- use modal verbs such as ‘it might be’ or ‘it must be’;
- give directions such as ‘go ahead’ and ‘turn left’, etc.;
- use imperatives to give instructions such as ‘stop’, “look to the right’, etc.;
- use ‘there is/are’ to describe what is shown.
Even though you need near to zero time to prepare for the above activities, in case you want more control of what students have access to, you can prepare beforehand either by creating a map of your own or preparing a 5 location game with Geosettr.
I have prepared one for you so that all you have to do is give your students the link and instructions.
Activity type: web-based game.
Target language: clothes; appearance; speculation language.
Level: Elementary to intermediate.
Classroom Time: 10 -15 minutes.
Preparation: almost none. But you need internet access and a computer or smartphone (via browser) to play it. Check students know the vocabulary they need for the activity.
According to each group level, decide if it is necessary to revise any vocabulary/structures.
1 Explain that there are two goals for the game and two winners (one for each).
I Guess 5 locations:
- They are shown consecutively with no breaks/pauses;
- all students open the same locations.
II Write down key words to describe one person (clothes, appearance) from each location before they pin the location on the map. You can ask them to take some prints of the people they’ve chosen for later reference.
2 Ask the students to open the link or the QR code:
3 Ask the students to describe the five people they chose from each location in as much detail as possible to the group.
4 The group decides on who is/are the winners by using a scoring system of their choice. E.g. Score one point for each adjective/sentence used and sum up.
First place winner is the person/pair/group that describes one person they choose in each location in more detail. Example: “She is wearing a striped skirt and a blue top. I think she is in her 40’s.”
5 Ask the students to share the score with the group/teacher orally or send the link with the score to somebody assigned to compile the results. Example of final score and link provided in the last window of the game:
6 Second place winner is the person/pair/group with the highest score in this part. You are scored from 1 to 25k each game.
Answers: Av. Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil / Trafalgar Square, London, UK / Times Square, New York, USA / Av. 5 de Mayo, Mexico City, Mexico / Hachikō-mae Square, Tokyo, Japan.
Nina Loback is Richmond Brazil’s Academic Coordinator for Language Schools. She has a degree in Languages (UEPG/PR/BR), holds CPE, TKT and is an ICELT holder. She has taught adults, teenagers and children for 10 years and is a frequent speaker at conferences. She is an advisory council member of BRAZ-TESOL Curitiba Regional Chapter and co-founder of Voices Sig for Women.