In this article I am going to share my experience on using a collaboration tool mainly used in business for teamwork, but which is also a good solution for the learners of English and their teachers. It is called Trello.
So, what is Trello? As they state on their website, it is “an easy, free, flexible and visual way to manage your projects, and organize anything”. It is true, and you can do that by creating boards with different sections, to which you can give labels according to your goals. Basically, a board looks like this:
There are no limitations on the number of boards you can create in the free version, although there are some regarding the size of a file to be uploaded or the number of add-ons for each board.
How do I use it in my work?
First of all, it helps me and my students (both in one-to-one teaching and group work, offline and online) to keep all the information we are learning at the moment in one virtual place sorted in different categories with very easy access. For example, this board:
Here we have my student’s board with 4 sections:
The vocabulary section contains cards with new words and their translations. Of course, you can use explanations instead of translations if you think it is more appropriate. If you click on any word card, it looks like this:
I left here a comment (marked orange on the screenshot) on the use of prepositions with the words “north, south, west, east”. Leaving comments for the notes that students make is a great way to give a better guidance to them on the part of a teacher. Sometimes, when making a new entry in this section, a student misspells a word, so you can easily correct it and pay the student’s attention to it. In the same manner we deal with the cards in the “grammar section”, with my comments on the student’s grammar notes.
We use the section “tasks” mainly for homework. I upload files from my computer with the help of the “attachments” function of Trello (marked orange), so there are audio records, pdf and doc files available for all the members of the board team at any moment:
You can also attach pictures, photos, and links, which is really great!
There are more ideas on how to use Trello for teachers in this article
More examples of Trello boards are here
If you are already using Trello for teaching, I will be delighted if you share your experience!