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Digital Gaming and Language Learning




Digital Gaming and Language Learning



TESOL Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) ISs






'Digital Gaming and Language Learning' aims to give educators the opportunity to investigate the role of computer games in language learning and teaching. We will be covering everything from:- how and why teachers should use computer games; examining CD-ROMs and online games specifically aimed at language learning; adapting online and console games to the classroom; appealing to students by using classroom materials based on popular games; designing and creating your own games. We also hope the session will lead to the creation of a community of educators interested in language learning and gaming, and will together be building a wiki resource to support teachers and learners who want to use computer games for this purpose. In addition, we will be offering an optional module on 'Second Life and Language Learning' ,looking at how this popular virtual world can be used to support language learning and teaching.


Target audience


This EVO session is of interest to those educators (particularly classroom language teachers) interested in how you can engage today's language learners (especially young learners) through the world of computer games. This session is not suitable for complete beginners. Participants should not be beginners to using online discussion tools, and a reasonably powerful computer (PC or Mac) with good graphics and sound cards will be necessary to take advantage of some of the games we will be looking at (especially important for those participants interested in the module on Second Life (http://www.secondlife.com). A good Internet connection (DSL, cable) is also a requirement in order to take advantage of some of the more graphics-intensive tools / games. We will also be using Skype (http://www.skype.com) for weekly synchronous meetings.


Potential group sponsor - TESOL CALL sig


Week-by-week outline


Week One: Insert Coin, Press 'Play'.

Participants will join our Yahoo Group http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/gamelearning , register in the wiki, http://evogaming.wikispaces.com/ , take a survey about their experience, introduce themselves and meet the other participants.

Synchronous Sessions: Meet the Players (Skypecasts) (Wednesday 17th Jan@22.00GMT & Saturday 20th Jan@12.00GMT)


- Second Life: Welcome. People interested in this extra module will create an account, download the software and join the 'DGLL' group' in Second Life (http://www.secondlife.com). We will also have a 'Welcome Party' for everyone at the Webheads HQ in Second Life on Saturday after our Skypecast (13.00GMT)



Week Two: Why games? What games?

This week, we will be examining the growing importance of gaming in society, and the ideas discussed by Marc Prensky and others about engaging learners by using computer games. We will be looking at ways in which participants use games in general (not just computer games) in their teaching, and be asking about the use of games by students outside of the classroom, encouraging you to collect data from your students. Synchronous Session: 'Games & Language Learning' (special guest(s) to be announced) (Skypecast) Saturday 27th January@12.00GMT (date/time to be confirmed)


- Second Life: Real Life Education in Second Life. You are invited to explore the ways in which educators are using this virtual world, including some of the educational resources that are available (including classroom spaces you can use). Tours of some of these spaces will be organised throughout the week (dates/times to be arranged)



Week Three: Adapting and integrating games in the curriculum.

This week, we will be looking at games specifically designed for language learning. What makes a good game? Which ones can you recommend? We will also be looking at the games our learners play outside the classroom. How can you take advantage of existing games that your students play at home? We will be looking at ways of integrating games into your teaching situation, and also be examining different types of online games, etc that are available.

Synchronous Session: 'ELT & Digital Gaming' round table discussion with participants & special guests (to be announced) - (Skypecast) Saturday 3rd Feb (date/time to be confirmed)


- Second Life: Teaching languages in Second Life. This week, you will have the opportunity to attend a language class (probably in Esperanto) to see how teachers are currently using Second Life for language teaching. We will also be trying out some other language teaching/learning & translation tools.(dates/times to be arranged)



Week Four: Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG).

This week, we will be looking at the increasingly popular world of MMOGs. In addition to Second Life, there are many other environments that could be used for language learning. We will be examining the educational and language learning possibilities of some of these games. We will also be looking at the results of our surveys and discussing 'Digital Gaming & Gender'.

Synchronous Session: 'Gender & Digital Gaming' round table discussion (Skypecast) Saturday 10th Feb (date/time to be confirmed)


- Second Life: Try Teaching in Second Life. Participants who want to will have the opportunity to try teaching or demonstrating something in Second Life. We will also take a better look at the voice tools in this world.(dates/times to be arranged)



Week Five: Creating your own games

Making your own computer games doesn't have to be difficult. As well as exploiting webquests as games, and interactive stories, we will be looking at student classroom projects involving learners designing their own computer games. We will also examine tools such as Gamemaker (http://www.gamemaker.nl/), which allow you to make your own computer games.

Synchronous Session: Skypecast with participants and special guests (to be announced). (Skypecast) Saturday 17th Feb (date/time to be confirmed)


- Second Life: Language Learning Games in Second Life. Participants will examine and try their hand at making and adapting their own games within Second Life. You will then have the opportunity to demonstrate these games.(dates/times to be arranged)


Week Six: Game Over

This week is a time for reflecting on what we have learned, extending discussions, concluding projects and looking at what the future holds. You are invited to help us develop the session wiki into a comprehensive and useful resource, and to keep in touch with your virtual colleagues for as long as you like, and to share with us your ideas of what the future holds, both for digital gaming in general, and for your projects.

Synchronous Session: Where now? - You are invited to join a Skypecast to share your reflections, questions, about the session, and the future of digital gaming and language learning, etc.


- Second Life: Second Life Language Learning Centre. Those participants who are interested in exploring Second Life further will be encouraged to develop a plan for this using the resources that are available to the group. We will also be holding a farewell 'graduation' party (date/time to be arranged) with a live DJ.


Complete the session evaluation.


Communication media


Yahoo Group http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/gamelearning/ - participant discussion, messages (all)

Wiki http://evogaming.wikispaces.com/ - participants will build a resource on gaming and language learning (all)

Skype http://www.skype.com - weekly synchronous sessions (all)


- Second Life http://www.secondlife.com - optional virtual world for people who choose to participate





Kyle Mawer - DELTA qualified EFL teacher who works at the British Council Young Learners Centre. His interests include using the Internet (especially games and Second Life) to engage language learners and improve materials in this area.


Nicholas Noakes - Director, Center for Enhanced Learning ( http://celt.ust.hk ) and Teaching, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST): http://ihome.ust.hk/~ctnick/ Currently developing a course for teachers new to Second Life with the New Media Consortium (NMC http://www.nmc.org ) on their NMC Campus in Second Life ( http://www.nmc.org/sl and http://www.nmc.org./campus ).


Graham Stanley - ICT co-ordinator and EFL Teacher at the British Council in Barcelona, and teacher of 'English for Tourism' at the University of Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain. Special interests include digital gaming, podcasting and blogging. Also writes a monthly page on computer gaming for a Spanish national technology magazine. blogs at: http://blog-efl.blogspot.com


Rita Zeinstejer - EFL teacher in Argentina, with 30 years' experience, and Self Access, Laboratory and Multimedia Coordinator at AsociaciĆ³n Rosarina de Cultura Inglesa ( http://www.arci.org.ar/ ), a CALL SIG co-ordinator and an active member of Webheads in Action, an online Community of practice doing research on CMC tools for Language Learning.

Join this session


To join this group:


  1. Go to: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/gamelearning
  2. Click on the blue button:
  3. Follow the instructions
Note: When you register for the group, you will have to be approved by the moderator. In order to reduce the possibility of "unwanted" members (such as spammers), please be sure to explain who you are and why you want to enroll in the session


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