Language Learners, Teachers & Computer games

This space is dedicated to adapting online (free to play) computer games for use in the English language learning classroom. As well as covering grammar and vocabulary areas the main aim is to cover skills work (reading, writing, listening and speaking).

If you want to skip the intro here then use the navigation bar on the left (the red writing)

This is actually adapted from a pecha Kucha talk with three images removed.

Article on adapting video games to language learning titled:

Language Learners & Computer Games: From Space Invaders to Second Life

by Graham Stanley & Kyle Mawer

Hi! My name's Kyle and I've been teaching TEFL for over ten years now in Barcelona, Spain. I've also always been one for computer games ever since I had my first 48K ZX Spectrum and had to load games from cassette - let me say that again purely because of the archaic sound of it all - from cassette. Well, things have come full circle now ever since joining the British Council and having a computer room slot once a fortnight with each of my classes. Spare time on my hands and an internet connection has always meant my internet browser (not me you understand) has wandered towards free online games. It took an accumulation of guilt over wasting my time playing these games (and a need to present a professional exterior at work) that led to my genius notion to marry my professional drive with a video game playing addiction.

I've also felt that taking learners into the computer room with no clear language aim is a bit self-defeating and, especially with young learners, akin to asking a technological nanny to step in and help me with the class. To be honest this was what it was like at the beginning - a computer nanny helping me out. Trouble is I can never remember getting the chance to put my feet up while the nanny was in charge.There were always questions like "what does this mean?", "How do I do that?", or statements like "Jordi keeps hitting me!" So, if I wasn't dealing with questions I would be keeping control of the class. Obviously there had to be some way I could use our time in the computer room more effectively. That way was to expose the students to games where language could be generated. I then needed to orientate my learners into exploring the language they were encountering and be able to guide their actions and engage them enough in a task to prevent squabbling. Here, in a wikispace, is an accumulation of that neverending quest to engage my young learners in an English language learning process using technology and techniques that learners have taken back to their own home.

That last point above there is significant as essentially I feel I've been entering a domain where the technological equipment of our
learners is probably better than what we can offer them in our classrooms. If that amount of money (and ultimately time) is
being invested in these resources by our learners at home then I think it's my obligation as a language facilitator to utilise this. I've given a few presentationsrecently with a colleague (Graham Stanley) and one of our first questions to the audience is "Who plays computer games on a regular basis?". We get a show of hands but they are very much a minority but ask them then "How many of your language learners play computer games on a regular basis?", and we have very much a majority who raise their hands. This last show of hands, has always been for me, an indication of a yearning by educators to tap into this gaming phenomenon and who am I to begrudge them that?

If you would like to make any comments or contributions then why not go to the blog link. Any contributions would be appreciated.

I have to say at this point that if I'm boring you and you want to see some substance then you just have to jump left to the lower black strip on the left and start your navigation of my wiki. Alternatively find out what video game character you are by doing this test:

If you're not bored then take time anyway to check out a few of the links and feel free to delve deeper into my wiki space. If you can put up with this section here some more I'll tell you how I'm now involved in a British Council Secondlife project and, if you don't know what that is then "enrollate, hombre!" (Get with the programme, man!).