Sunday, October 14, 2012

How to use a Serious Game for Learning: focusing on the Garbage Game


   A serious game is a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment. The "serious" adjective is generally prepended to refer to products used by industries like defense, education, scientific exploration, health care, emergency management, city planning, engineering, religion, and politics. (source: Wikipedia)
Garbage game is a typical kind of serious game, focusing on environmental issues including recycle and reuse. The game contains large amount of information with various graphics. Focusing on playing the game, learners will have to make decisions based on the information provided with graphics. The game is inherently educational. However, what makes this game notable is its value for enhancing the learners’ reading skill: the game process requires active reading, which is why I chose the game. I have played the game only twice but I can clearly know how the game could help many learners in both their language learning and environmental education.

Active reading is an interactive process that helps readers to achieve better comprehension and recall of their reading materials. These are the features of active reading that you can use while you playing the garbage game.

1. Applying Prior Knowledge
2. Critical Response
3. Making Prediction
4. Problem-solving
5. Summarize  -- summarizing can be used as an assessment, too.

Language learning objectives could be
1. Familiarize the vocabulary related to the environment such as reuse, landfill, plastic bottle, unsorted garbage, recyclable, discard, residential waste.
2. Read and reflect on their waste habit to make green campaign.
3. Discuss and make UCC to change people’s waste habits using information given in the game.

How to Assess the Achievement - Using Contents as a Text
 The game contains vast amount of information regarding dispoal of garbage and the learners should make decision step by step. Even if a leaner did not get the answer, he or she can not miss the explanation about the correct answer while playing the game. So, it makes sense to test some of the knowledge they gained during the game.
The format of evaluation might be:
1) multiple choice questions or T/F questions
2) writing a paragraph on garbage issues
3) making summary of the most interesting facts from the game
4) evaluating group work - UCC or posters - for garbage campaign
5) debate based on the information from the game

How to Use the Game Il Destino for Your English Class


 Gamification is incorporating game elements and mechanics into non-gaming websites and software such as educational course work. Especially, it can be used to enhance learners’ language use in more exciting environments. (refer to '7 things You Should Know about Gamification")

  Il Desino is a point-and-click game in which you explore the car show room and find objects which interact with each other and solve puzzles in order to get the sports car out. I have played this game three times because I love cars and games and found it very interesting. The topic of this game could appeal to boys especially for the same reason. To play this game you will have to use the decent amount of reading skills to read the walkthrough. Basically, the game can be played as a reading activity with the walk through. However, you can use it more various format including this activity:


Reading Race 

1. Students will be able to read the walk-through text and follow the directions when they listen to the text.
2. Students will be able to speak and write imperative sentences using the verb: get, find, zoom in, get, walk, turn off, open, pick up etc.  

1. Divide students into groups of three or four.
2. Provide the group worksheet
3. Put the full text of the Intro page of the game on tables in the back of the room.


1. In a group the students answer the questions on the group worksheet using the text in the back by scanning strategy but one member of each group can go back at a time. The member is not allowed to bring the group walk sheet.
2. One by one, they answer the the question by going to the back and be prepared to play the game.
3. As soon as they complete the worksheet, they can start to apply it for the game. It’s a “listen-and-do” format basically. When they do this, one member is sitting in front of the computer while another member is sitting the other end of table facing the gamer. Teacher gives a sheet of the walkthrough only to this member. The other members can help them communicate well.
4. This is team competition based on the problem-solving task on the game Il Destino.

 Teacher’s role
Other than the controller, facilitator, and group organizer, the teacher in this lesson has the following roles:
1. The teacher develops the group worksheet by making several comprehension questions about the Intro page of this game.
- If the students are not familiar with the scanning strategy, the teacher explains and show how to use the strategy.

2. The groups can ask the teacher up to three questions regarding the walkthrough.
3. When they struggle with technical problem, the teacher is expected to help.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Using Twitter in Classroom

Nowadays, Twitter is not just a social network where people get to share their lives to a new-dimension of learning and teaching platform. If you are a teacher and interested in using twitter for your class, the following article will help you a lot because it contains both what to do with twitter and how to do it well: <Teachers Guide to The Use of Twitter in Classroom>

Here are some of my ideas and why they are meaningful about using twitter for teaching.

1)     Enhancing learner autonomy, cooperation and negotiation by sharing the questions.

Many times, students are reluctant to ask questions or answer questions in public – the whole class. Print material or website can typically be one-way but twitter is interactive inherently. Using twitter allows students to ask questions more freely than classroom environment both because it is easy to raise questions and they can have time to prepare questions or answers when they work individually on twitter. Of course, teachers can monitor and help the question-and-answer process. By doing this, learners can seek their own knowledge just they would do in their outside-of-classroom environment.


2)     Facilitating group projects through twitter.

Sometimes, students cannot actively participate the assigned group activity because they physically cannot get together or they are not ready to work together. Using twitter allows them to share various types of data and their opinion more easily than off-line group work. Keeping track of what they have worked is also easy and, thus, lessons some students’ work load to record their work.


3)     Communicate with peers and experts on twitter.

 Several years ago, I joined a teachers’ community to share class material and opinions on our class. However, using the website was not simple because there are too many website that we have to keep up with on a regular basis. By using twitter as a social bookmarking, we can communicate or follow with other educators more freely without having to check different website. In addition, sharing information with other educators can be much meaningful because much of today’s class material contains video or sound media and you can just click the link on twitter.


Monday, October 1, 2012

EFL Classroom 2.0 - Useful Social Network for English Teachers

Check This Out, English Teachers !

EFL Classroom 2.0 - Useful Social Network for English Teachers

  As an English teacher, I sometimes google for good lesson plans or activity sheets for my class. But many times, it ends up with finding some commercial material or a piece of material, not the whole, on some inactive websites.

  Things you can do from this social network group are
  - get latest information about language teaching including games, activities and lesson plans
  - get links to various educational media materials including video clips for your class
  - ask and answer questions regarding different topics on English teaching
  - share your ideas with other teachers through Teacher Talk Webminars
  - explore useful tools for your English classes
  - get a great deal of stories for your class
  - view some inspirational tips as a teacher

So why don't you check EFL Classroom 2.0

Plus, one of my favorite video clip that made me stop for a moment and think about my own career as a teacher : Teachers Matter - Brian Robertson

Learning is like a giant invisible elephant, a learner is like a blind needing to work together.

I was seven years old when I first saw a REAL computer. That was a black-and-white monitor with huge body. It was the only computer of my school so it was kept at a “sacred place”, where only one teacher can access. That night, I was imagining what I can do with computer. One of the fascinating expectations I got was that it could serve as a Mr. Know-it-all; whenever I type something I want to ask, the machine would give me the answer. It was wrong! The reality was different. To get the answer A, I should program to get the answer A, which means I should know the answer before I get the answer and it’s not what I was expecting.
How about the computers and various web tools now? Do you still need to know the answer to get your answer? No! You just type your question and you get it. I, now, have three computers including my smartphone, where have nearly all answers I might be curious about. How thrilling! Computers nowadays are Mr. Know-it-all practically. How about the learners today? Unfortunately, they learn almost same theory and knowledge in a slight different way – using more graphics and other tools. Since the intuition learners have is fundamentally different, education and learning theory should be approached the fundamentally different way.
George Siemens, in his note at You Tube (The Conflict of Learning Theories with Human Nature), mentions the way we externalize our thought is fundamentally different in that the core of learning in the previous generations focused on mainly language while we, now, see the connection and network as a primary way to externalize thoughts. Learners today live in the knowledge-based society where new information is continually being acquired and the capacity to know more is more critical than what is currently known. George Siemens said that sometimes the pipe is more important than the content within the pipe: Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. In today’s world, a learner is like a producer-consumer in a market because every learner acquires knowledge on certain areas through information technology and they make contribution to help others find out or get the answer they are searching through the technology. Therefore, teachers and educators must ask themselves this question constantly: am I dealing with it enough HOW to gain knowledge outside their organizations as well as WHAT to know from the textbooks?