One more from the IATEFL archives – a review of my own ‘showcase session’ from the LTSIG PCE in 2015. I would probably suggest slightly different ways for using the app were I to do the session again today, but that’s another post fro another time (see here for an insight into how my thinking about DGBL has changed over the last couple of years).
This post comes to you from a surprisingly sunny Manchester, where I am attending my first IATEFL Conference. I had the pleasure of attending the LTSIG (Learning Technologies Special Interest Group) PCE (Pre-conference Event) both as an attendee for some informative sessions (see my other blog for more details) and as a presenter in the ‘afternoon showcase’, a series of 30 minute sessions designed to give a quick, practical introduction to an app.
I, of course, went for game-based learning for my showcase with a favourite app game of mine, Can You Escape? There was an encouraging amount of interest with large numbers of people even sitting on the floor for my demo and nobody literally trying to escape the room! Time constraints plus not that many people actually pre-loading the app on their devices meant I couldn’t quite demonstrate everything I had planned to so this post is just to briefly summarise the five different stages of activities I showed with the app.
Having explained the purpose of the game, I started with an example of ‘guided play’. First, we identified different vocabulary in the room and went over any unknown words (not really an issue with a room full of teachers but we were simulating!) I then talked as I played through the level encouraging the participants to follow me on their own devices. This works as a ‘live listening’ activity and helps the students become familiar with the game, the language used to talk about the game, and to engage in a detailed listening comprehension without even realising it.
The next level involved me ‘playing dumb’ and claiming to be stuck on Level 2 (much as I have previously described with the game LIMBO). I then elicited help from the group. This gave them a chance to describe the game themselves as well as explore the level. As these introductory levels are short, this was done quite quickly and helped us move on from a listening phase to a speaking one.
Activity 3 introduced the idea of walkthroughs. I set up a Google Doc with an incomplete walkthrough and it was the job of the participants to play through the level and fill the gaps in the step-by-step guide. (we didn’t actually get to do this due to logistical concerns – too many people in the room and not enough time to relate the link to all of them). This is a good activity to get students reading and engaging both with the game and with a text.
Other possibilities for a walkthrough activity could include presenting students with a jumbled gap-fill and asking them to order it, providing a walkthrough full of mistakes and having students correct it as they play through, or supplying them with images and text to match up.
For level 4, we switched to an authentic reading task. I directed the participants to work in pairs, one looking at the game and one searching online for a walkthrough. Having found a suitable guide, they extracted the information from it to play through the level.
There are various ways this could be approached in class. One way would be to have each pair collaboratively read through the walkthrough and then play through the level. Another would be to have one student (or group of students) read through and then relate the information to the person with the device in their hands. You could also sit them back-to-back to ensure the information is relayed orally.
A final activity would be to get the students making their own walkthrough to a level. Again, there could be many ways to do this. Each pair or group could prepare their own guide and then compare them with the rest of the class. This could also be done collaboratively on a Google Doc with the whole class piecing together the instructions (best with a small group). These tasks could be done ‘live’ while playing through the level or retrospectively having completed the level. Lower level learners could also take screenshots of the steps to escape the room and add simple sentences under them.
There are of course many other ways to put this great little app to use but I will save those for another time. For now, thank you to the LTSİG and University of Manchester for including me in the event and thank you to all those who came along to watch – please share your experiences if you use this app in class.
This post originally appeared at http://eltsandbox.weebly.com/blog/iatefl-2015-can-you-escape-from-the-ltsigpce-showcase in April, 2015.
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