Webinar – Thomas Nolan Kelly

April 22, 2015

“Gamification “: an introduction to virtual worlds for language and CLIL teachers

Thursday, 30th April, 19:00-20:00 CET
Speaker: Thomas Nolan Kelly
This CAMELOT webinar on Gamification (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamification) in language learning/ teaching and CLIL will illustrate the use of Gamification as an introduction to the use of machinima for language and CLIL teachers.

To watch the webinar follow this link: http://lancelot.adobeconnect.com/p9srftsrpqj/

“Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users’ self contributions.”

One of the chief problems encountered in the introduction of the aims of the CAMELOT Project is the lack of knowledge of and familiarity of language teachers with virtual worlds. The amount of time and effort required to familiarise themselves with techniques and technology necessary for satisfactory deployment of virtual world environments in their teaching frightens off many teachers, particularly those who have heavy teaching schedules.

Perhaps a comparison may be made between introducing potential language teachers to the skill of language teaching with or without a textbook. Obviously, it is much easier for teachers to approach the task of language teaching, if they have a whole array of ready-made materials available which will include material with which they can introduce and exercise the necessary skills for language acquisition.

One would hardly expect each and every language teacher to develop their own, individual language teaching textbook, with all the necessary elements (exercises, mini dictionary, audiovisual materials, etc., etc. using a language teaching/learning textbook does not mean that teachers have to follow the content slavishly, but may adapt materials, exercise et cetera according to the perceived needs of their learners.

The use of ready-made games to introduce language teachers to the world of machinima can fulfil a similar function to that of the standard textbook, provided that the games chosen expose learners to a wide variety of examples of language use, suited to the needs and wishes of the learners.

Professionally produced materials in the world of video games can be aesthetically pleasing, both in terms of visuals and in terms of the language they may generate.

The purpose of this webinar is to illustrate how attractive, widely used video games may be profitably deployed in the field of language teaching/learning to stimulate interest in the use of this genre in language learning and language teaching, providing novices with ready-made materials which may be adapted to the particular needs of different learning groups.

A biographical note on Thomas Nolan Kelly

Tom Kelly is a coordinate bilingual in German and English. His (German) mother is a medical doctor and his (Australian) father is a retired teacher, with extensive experience of teaching a wide range of pupils and students in a number of geographical settings, most often within the context of international schools.

Tom studied computer sciences at the University of Frankfurt. During his course of studies, he worked on a part-time basis for German Railways (Deutsche Bahn – DB) , chiefly as a programmer and designer of programs designed to solve logistical problems. After graduation in 2015, he was taken on by DB on a full-time basis.

He has been playing computer games since the age of three, when his grandfather introduced him to this genre. He has also designed his own computer games, and continues to follow developments in this area.

His webinar will introduce language colleagues to a range of video games which he believes will be of interest to those engaged in the area of language learning a language teaching. He does not profess to be an expert in the area of language learning and teaching, but looks forward to lively discussions with the language professionals engaged in the CAMELOT Project with reference to the potential gamification has for language learning and language teaching, and as an introduction to virtual worlds for language teachers.

The Games introduce by Thomas into his webinar:

Skyrim (2011) is a single-player open-world game, with a playable
area of roughly 50 km². Its primary usefulness comes from the fact
that it can be modified freely, including an unlimited number of
customizable avatars. The necessary software, the Creation Kit, can be
downloaded free of charge. The actual game is currently available on
the Steam platform for €15.
2011 SkyrimCrysis 3 (2013) is primarily a shooter that can be played both on-
and offline. It can, however, be modified for almost any other
purpose. The necessary software, the CryEngine Sandbox, is sold
separately from the game at €10/month. The main advantage: all
products made with the Sandbox can be used at no charge, without the
user(s) needing to buy the base game.
The game itself is available on the Origin download platform for €10.
2013 Crysis 3
L.A. Noire (2011) is another single-player open-world game,
focusing on criminal investigation. While it cannot be modified, it
provides a good example of the possibilities of modern technology,
especially in terms of interactive dialogue. Considering that it is
available in five languages (English, French, German, Italian, and
Spanish), with full voice-overs available for each of them, some
segments may already have some use in language learning in its current
shape. The game is available on Steam for €30 and will also run on the
Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game consoles.
2011 LA NoireDragon Age: Inquisition (2014) is an open-world role-playing game
focusing primarily on offline gameplay. It features a broad range of
dialogue choices and consequences, as well as a fully customizable and
voiced avatar. It can be purchased on Origin for €60 and is available
in seven languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish
and Russian). Since the languages can be switched at any time, it may
be useful as an interactive practice exercise. In addition, the game
is currently very popular (3.37 million copies sold), meaning that
some students may already be familiar with it.
2014 Dragon Age InquisitionBrothers: A Tale of Two Sons (2013) is a single-player adventure
game, focused primarily on its story. Since all spoken dialogue
consists solely of gestures and “gibberish”, it can be used as a “fill
in the blanks” exercise for language students, as well as a variety of
other applications. It is available on Steam for €15.

2013 Brothers

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