Presentation given at TESOL-SPAIN 33rd Annual Convention, Universitat de Lleida, Catalonia
Building Bridges: New Competences in the EFL Classroom
Friday, March 12th – Sunday, March 14th, 2010
This talk will look at two projects taking place in the 3D environment of Second Life. The first, AVALON is a European-Union funded project exploring best practice using virtual worlds. The second is the British Council's Learn English Second Life for Teens, featuring language learning quests such based on UK culture and legends (including Merlin).
The talk will begin with a brief fast-paced humorous introduction to the development of language learning and teaching in virtual worlds so far (from replicating boring classrooms to teaching underwater; from teacher-centred presentations through role-playing to experiential game-based lessons)
We will then look at the development of the AVALON project; the European-Union funded project with ten partners (including the British Council) involved in exploring best practices. I will briefly explain the background to the variety of pilot language courses: Business English, Academic Speaking Skills and a Beginners Minority Language Course. After this, I will examine in more detail some of the recommendations that have developed from the language teaching that I have been involved in there (the Business English course) and I will show brief examples captured on video of a class in action.
Next, I will share the research undertaken that was carried out on the British Council Isle featuring self-access game-based learning through quests. We will look at the Merlin Quest in particular. Then I will explain the reasons that led to the development of these self-access activities and summarise some of the things we have learned from the experience.
Finally, I will draw conclusions about both of these innovative approaches to language learning in the 3D virtual world of Second Life and offer recommendations for anyone interested in teaching in this virtual world. Interaction and questions will also be encouraged here