This week, the ‘Teaching and Language Learning through Gamification‘ TESOL EVO session comes to an end. It’s been an enjoyable 5 weeks, with some great live sessions from special guest speakers and lots of sharing of ideas and enthusiasm in the Moodle forums. The TLLG Moodle won’t be around for long, but the highlights of the course will be archived on a wiki,http://tllg.wikispaces.com , which we also hope will be a place that people can share links to lesson plans for online games they have used.
During the EVO session, there also seems to have been evidence of an increased interest in games for language learning and teaching. Apart from the fact that 304 people signed up to be members of the TLLG Moodle, a figure much higher than we thought we’d have, we’ve also spotted the following:
- Leo Selivan shared his experience using Spent with a group of upper-intermediate learners, who were enthusiastic about the game and found it useful. Leo mentions that a couple of the learners were over 60 as well, proof that some computer games can appeal to a wide age range.
- A reflection on using Interactive Fiction was shared on the ESLNotes blog. The teacher, based in Paris was inspired by Joe Pereira’s live session for TLLG and also by Joe’s blog, IF Only.
- This post by Joe Pereira maps the educational qualities of IF to ‘learning techniques found in video games’ posited by Marc Prensky (2001). Part 2 (coming soon) will do the same with the literacy-based ‘learning principles of good video games’ in James Paul Gee‘s book ‘What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy‘ (2003).
- CALL specialist Vance Stevens, has been playing MOTAS and has shared his lesson plans here http://tinyurl.com/motaslessons
- The Teacher James Taylor blogged about some of the Dogme-ish lesson ideas that can be found in the Digital Play book and we were thrilled to read James say “it’s a great book, passionately and convincingly arguing for a place for video games in the ELT classroom” and “I think this book will go a long way towards persuading more and more of our fellow educators to incorporate them in their own lessons.”
- A very interesting academic paper has been published comparing Computer Game and Language Learning Task Design Using Flow Theory by Stephan J.Francis. The conclusions include the following: ‘computer mediation can make task environments more dynamic and more responsive to individual learners’ needs to an extent that would be difficult to accomplish with conventional activities‘ and that there are ‘strong arguments for incorporating computer games into TBLT coursework to some extent.’
- James York has some great ideas for turning the classroom into a role-playing game on his blog. This follows on from the initial idea (some great slides featuring images from Minecraft, which James would like to use in class at some point in time) and the first class ‘battle’. James’ ideas come partly from the book ‘The Multiplayer Classroom – Designing coursework as a Game‘ by Lee Sheldon, which I’ve also been reading, and love. There’ll be a guest blog post by James on Digital Play soon, so watch this space.
- In James Paul Gee’s latest post ‘10 truths about books‘ , he mentions that ‘ lots of people who understand games, don’t understand books and lots of people who understand books, don’t understand games‘ and then goes on to write 10 ways in which books and video games are the same. He finishes by mentioning some of the special properties games have that set them aside from books: i) ‘Games are based not on content, but on problems to solve. The content of a game (what it is “about”) exists to serve problem solving‘ ii) ‘Games can lead to more than thinking like a designer; they can lead to designing‘ iii) ‘Gamers co-author the games they play by the choices they make and how they choose to solve problems, since what they do can affect the course and sometimes the outcome of the game.’ iv) ‘Games are most often played socially and involve collaboration and competition.’ It’s this last one that is least widely recognised, I think – at least the first part of it.
So, lots to read and think about there – and it’s only February. Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings in this widening field.