Mar 30

Podcast: Being a language teacher in Second Life

I met Scottlo Scorbal , an English language teacher and podcaster based in Japan, when he signed up for the Virtual Worlds & Language Learning session that I co-moderated with three colleagues. Scottlo, reflected on what we did in the VWLL session with podcasts here and here. He was on of the VWLL participants who planned their first SL lesson and did a peer-teaching lesson during the VWLL session. A video recording of this lesson can be viewed here. I learned that he has been podcasting for four years now and uses podcasting (audio journals) with his students, too. Scott is also on Twitter. Scottlo invited me to do a podcast with him and talk a bit about language learning and teaching in Second Life. You can find the result on his blog Meet Scottlo Scorbo. Thanks Scottlo for giving me this opportunity!

Oct 27

MUVEnation – postgraduate course in ‘Teaching and learning with MUVEs’

muvenation logo

I was very happy today when I was informed that I have been accepted to the MUVEnation course ‘Teaching and learning with MUVEs’ (Massively Multi User Virtual Environments). It is a 1-year postgraduate online certificate course funded by the EU. Here is how MUVEnation describes the course:

MUVEnation will help teachers acquire the necessary competencies to integrate massively multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) into their teaching practice ; by exploring the links between : virtual worlds, learning and motivation, active learning and pedagogical approaches that include socio-constructivism, situated learning, project based learning, learning by doing, game based learning, simulations and role-playing.

I am looking very much forward to the course and will share what I learn with my colleagues in the SLexperiments group, in the EVO2009 session that I will co-moderate next year and with everybody else through my reflections that I will be posting here.

Special thanks to Cristina Costa, who informed me about the course.

 

Aug 26

Public presentation — Exploring Second Life for Language Teaching and Learning

 


My first Second Life English course has finished, certificates handed out, the SLexperiments Wiki and group has been constantly growing since we started it and I have been exploring Second Life‘s potential for language teaching for a while now. Throughout this journey and as a member of the Webheads (an online community of practise), I have learned and experienced that sharing what one knows is a very powerful way of learning more.

This and the fact that reflecting on one’s learning and teaching helps one to become a better teacher and learner were the reasons why I had decided to blog about my Second Life English course and publishing my lesson plans. I do hope there will be more feedback and comments on the lessons and my reflections so I and other teachers can benefit even more and improve our teaching.

The logical next step is to give a public online presentation about this fascinating journey, my explorations and teaching experience. The presentation is mainly directed towards teachers but some of my students will (hopefully) also be present and learners wanting learn about new ways of improving their language skills or companies looking for effective and motivating language courses are most welcome to attend.

The presentation will be on the WiziQ virtual classroom platform and is scheduled for Thursday, 28 August 2008 at 3pm GMT. Here is the link where you can sign up for the session.

I am looking forward to seeing you there.

Update:

If you missed the live presentation, you can watch the recording here (you will have to sign up for Wiziq if you don’t have an account yet). Above, you can see the slides of the presentation.

Jul 15

Tip 5 – All class members and teacher are friends

All course participants should be asked to add everybody else including the teacher to their friends list. This is necessary for pair and group work or when students need to be teleported* or teleport others. Also, outside of class, they can keep in touch and practise together or help each other with questions and problems.

*It’s time that the spell checker recognises the word “teleport” and it’s derivatives 🙂

Jul 15

Tip 4 – Create a group for each of your classes

Create a group for your classes and have all students who are enrolled in this particular class join the group so that you can send group notices about the course, homework reminders, etc. You might forbid students to use this group to send group messages to their peers. You might, however, also allow them to use it in some cases (saying which) so that they can help each other or chat out side class.

Do not use this group to add all people who are interested in your classes. You can create a separate group for that purpose.

Note:
Creating a group in Second Life costs L$100 and at least one other person besides you needs to join the group within 48 hours otherwise the group will be cancelled with no refund and you will not be able to use that name again.

Update: Also remember that you can only join 25 group with one avatar. You might, therefore, want to reuse groups with new classes.

Jul 15

Tip 3 – Sound check

Do a sound check at the beginning of every lesson. Do not assume everybody can hear you just because they could last time. You do not want a student to ask you to repeat all that you said after they finally realised you were talking but they couldn’t hear. If you know from the beginning that some students cannot hear you or others, you can, for example, use local chat more. 

Personally, if students cannot hear me due to technical problems, I will try to and write as much as I can into local chat to accommodate them. If, however, I have announced that the course will be in voice but students have not set it up, I do not help them during the lesson.

That’s why having one session before the actual course is a good idea or, at least, sending students to places where they can get help (tutorials). Another option, if you possible, is to have a technical assistant, at least in the first couple of lessons and only at the beginning of a lesson, say the first 15 minutes. Students can then be told to IM the assistant for technical help.