This is an incredible web based game which uses original footage, photographs and real life stories from Haiti as you experience the aftermath of the Earthquake from the viewpoint of either a survivor, journalist or aid worker.
Location: Computer room
Skills focus: Reading
This is a very serious and hard hitting game with a very strong message. After you have chosen your character (survivor, aid worker and journalist) you hear an extended account of their situation before you get a chance to read the same account as a summary. You also get presented with a choice over a course of action to take which in turn decides the characters future in the game.
You can read more information about the game Inside the Haiti Earthquake here or play the game itself by clicking the link above. This is a great way to encourage learners to read while raising awareness of Haiti’s plight in the aftermath of the earthquake. How can you use it? Here are some ideas:
1 Playing for pleasure
Either with the help of an online dictionary (or a teacher if the game is played on-site) learners play the game by choosing the character they would be most interested in playing. The play for pleasure with skills practice being supplied by both the audio elements and the written text as well as using an online dictionary. This could also be encouraged for homework though a short presentation of the game in class helps to introduce the game to learners.
2 Playing to discuss
- Divide the three in-game roles (survivor, journalist and aid worker) equally amongst your learners. In same role groups learners predict what their characters experience will be like (what they may suffer, obstacles they may face and emotions they may feel.
- They then play the game.
- After the game they return to their groups and compare their predictions with the actual gaming experience. It’s a good idea at this stage to encourage learners to makes some notes on common group findings. You can then give the groups the task of discussing how their character may wish to interact with the two other characters from the game. Finally place learners into groups of survivor , aid worker and journalist. They can then role play the scenario where all three of them meet thinking about what they want from each character, how they could best get what they want and in what way they would get it.
3 Playing to write
Once learners have played the game ask them to write about their experience. The writing could be from the view of the in-game character though it is equally interesting to find out about the learners’ own personal reaction to the game. This could in turn reflect what they have learnt, how it emotionally effected them and what they thought of it from a gaming experience.
4 Language focus
If your learners are using an online dictionary to help with the language used within the game then get them to record some of this language. Vocabulary items (nouns) can be recorded in isolation and translated but it’s a good idea to note more complex language structures in chunks both to record the context and to raise awareness of collocations and more complex language structures. If learners can do this then it presents a great opportunity to look at some of that language in the classroom. Learners can teach each other the language, create their own sentences (personal questions, true/ false statements etc) using the language they have recorded from the game.
Remember too that by playing the game yourself you can also become part of the tasks and activities that take place outside of the game. Learners can be just as interested in your opinions and on an interaction level the discussion or writing can become more authentic and personalized. ’Real people talking about real things’.