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My book chapter (“Computer games as agentive and immersive spaces for language learners”) just got published in: “Playing with Virtuality: Theories and Methods of Computer Game Studies.” http://www.peterlang.com/index.cfm?cid=5&event=cmp.ccc.seitenstruktur.detailseiten&seitentyp=produkt&pk=73330&concordeid=264060


Story Builder

Story Builder

Story Builder is not that new anymore, but many people I talk to haven’t heard about it. So if this doesn’t sound familiar, read on. If you want to make dialog writing a bit more interesting, then google story builder is a neat way to change things up a bit. It’s free, and you don’t […]


20 Questions Game

20 Questions Game

  The 20 Questions game is a great game for language students. A person thinks about an object, say a table, and the other players (or player) have to ask questions that can be answered with yes or no, or a few select answers such as probably, rather not, or irrelevant. The team has to […]


Quizlet

Quizlet

I and many of my students have used Quizlet for a while, and since many of them like it so much I thought it would warrant a blog post. Quizlet is a free study system (think digital flashcards) for computers and mobile devices. It’s particularly good for vocabulary, but can be used for other purposes as […]


Browser Games for Language Learning

Browser Games for Language Learning

Small, browser-based games can be great in your language classes because of their manageable scope, shallow learning curve, and their accessibility. Fitting into a single lesson, they can create conversation opportunities and prompts. For instance, the 20 questions game, derived from a traditionally non-digital game, provides an always present conversation partner and lets users seek […]


Selection Criteria for Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Video Games for Language Learning

Selection Criteria for Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Video Games for Language Learning

My article titled “Selection Criteria for Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Video Games for Language Learning” was published in the IALLT Journal yesterday. The journal is open access, so you can just click on the link and start reading. Link to article Link to the PDF Version


Pedagogically Sound Games

Pedagogically Sound Games

There’s an annual competition and price in Germany for pedagogically sound games, called the “Pädi.” Not all these games are good for language learning, of course, but it’s an interesting list to look at. There are two age categories, one for children and one for teenagers. One social game I particularly liked is called Geräusche-Quiz. It is […]


Whiteboard Paint

Whiteboard Paint

  One of the coolest non-tech features of our language learning center at Rhodes is the fact that you can write on the walls (and the sliding doors when they are closed). It’s great for professors who need more space than the mobile whiteboard provides. Students can write their answers on the wall during class, […]


Foreign Language Karaoke

test 3

Karaoke is not the first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking about language learning. Over the years I’ve seen music in general and karaoke in particular used in wonderful ways to practice other languages and in addition to that promote the joy that language learning can bring. Setting Most of the times […]


The New Language Learning Center at Willamette University

The New Language Learning Center at Willamette University

I was fortunate to visit the brand new Language Learning Center at Willamette Universityfor the last few days. I was invited to give the inaugural presentation (“Language Learning Spaces at Liberal Arts Colleges”) and meet with faculty, students, administrators, and of course language center employees. The space shows how far we’ve come in terms of […]


Socrative

Socrative

Socrative is an enhanced real-time student response system that works on a number of devices. There are others (e.g. Poll Everywhere or Piazza), but I like Socrative because of its ease of use, reliability (at least so far), and its cost (it’s free). With Socrative, students connect to a instructor created account by entering a unique […]


Quest for the Rest

Quest for the Rest

Quest for the Rest is a great little browser game that lends itself for one language class and that I’ve been using for quite some time now, so I thought I’d share my thoughts. The game free and easily accessible here without any downloads. There is no text in this brief adventure game. Instead, players click […]


Thinglink

Thinglink

A few weeks ago I wrote about my favorite sources for images for language learning and teaching. Today I’d like to write about another great tool: Thinglink. This one is actually for adding meta info to images: text, links, other images, videos, etc. It’s quite easy to do: you upload an image, designate areas on that […]


Buzz

Emphasizing the social aspects of new media

  For several years now one of the most versatile game I’ve used in the language centers at Pomona College and Rhodes College is a PS3 game called Buzz. Here’s how it works: up to 8 players each take a wireless controller, which sports 4 brightly colored buttons and a large “Buzz” button. Players choose their own avatars […]


StoryWheel

StoryWheel

In my last two posts I wrote about applications that are located between games and digital storytelling: Dear Esther and StoryLines. Today’s post is about the Story Wheel iOS app, in which multiple players spin a virtual wheel. There are several animated pictures on each wheel, and they are thematically related (the initial theme and the app […]


Dear Esther

Dear Esther

Last week I wrote about the narrative game StoryLines. Today’s pick is arguably not even a real game, but more like an interactive novel: Dear Esther. There aren’t really any goals that have to be accomplished. No tasks or choices, no levels(there are “chapters”), no upgrades, no overt rewards other than the experience and what the […]


StoryLines

StoryLines

I just finished revising a book chapter I wrote on new forms of narratives, which includes several applications that are neither games nor digital storytelling software in the traditional sense. So I decided to write about one of those applications in this  post (StoryLines) and a few others (e.g. Dear Esther, StoryWheel, and some browser […]


German 101 Book Publishing Project

Computers set up for collaboration

This coming fall semester (2012) I’m trying something new with my German 101 class: we’re going to publish a book. I’ve helped other courses publish their work as magazines (e.g. Conexiones), and therefore have an established workflow in the language center for such print and epublication projects. One the student workers does all the layout and […]


Teaching with Images

Teaching with Images

I use a lot of images in my language classes. An unusual picture is a great way to start a class, and photos can convey a more authentic impression of another country than many traditional textbooks can. They can be used for descriptions in the L2, or as vocabulary props. They also are instantly accessible, which is […]


A mobile Game to Practice German

A mobile Game to Practice German

A while ago the Goethe Institut released a mobile Game, Lernabenteuer Deutsch – Das Geheimnis der Himmelsscheibe, to Practice German. I played through much of the iPad version, but other platforms are supported as well: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch), Android, and a browser-based version. All versions are free and worked flawlessly. The game is clearly an instructional game […]


ARIS

ARIS

It was great to see the increased interest in gaming and language learning at this year’s CALICO conference. The most promising actual uses of gaming were built on a free platform called ARIS, which combines gaming and storytelling elements by using a location-aware iOS app. I had played around with it and read about it […]


Turnitin Voice Comments

Turnitin Voice Comments

I posted about Turnitin a few months ago. I liked the tool not for plagiarism checking, but for written feedback and peer-reviewing. Even though some of these tools are great, good old paper is still quicker and easier. They have just now added voice commenting, and this opens up some new possibilities, especially for language […]


Major Site Updates

Major Site Updates

Finally there has been a major overhaul of this site. Some of this was on the back end, while other changes are quite visible. Behind the scenes: – WP multisites enabled and installed – better security – back-up workflow established and general maintenance Visible Changes: –  complete visual overhaul – favicon added – Apple touch […]


DST Project: Phase 1 Completed

DST Project: Phase 1 Completed

Phase 1 of my digital storytelling project is done! Four participants granted us the right to post the stories about them. The project turned out as desired: the stories aren’t flashy, but students spent a lot of time speaking and listening to German, and many had an aha-moment when they heard stories and opinions from […]