Friday, 16 July 2010

Games to play in your forum or blog

This is another ELTAS Tech Tools Day task.

Pre-task thinking:
  • What kinds of games do you play with adult classes?
  • Which games make them actually apply their language skills?
There are lots of low-tech, easy to set up games you can play using your blog/ comments or your forum.

Text-based games

Any kind of collaborative or prompted writing can be a game as soon as you set rules limiting what students can do, getting their creative juices flowing. They are developing something together, yet watching the others, which all by itself introduced a competitive element. You can set time constraints to raise adrenaline levels and create parallel tasks to increase the sense of competition.
  1. Write a story simply by extending a sentence by a word. Rule: you're not allowed to delete what someone else has written! Here's a sample: Expanding Alice. Each person updating the story copies and pastes the last update into the comments and adds words.
  2. Change a story by changing individual words (sample: Altering Alice).
This posting must happen assynchronously - students may get in each other's way if they work all at once! In Ning students can update their comments for 15 minutes, so they can correct any mixups. BUT you can turn this into a synchronous game by having everyone start their own story as a separate discussion and then having them go around adding to the others'.

You might want to link to Oxford collocations in your Ning or blog and have students refer to them when playing text-based games to keep the language juices flowing.

Picture-based games

Post a puzzling picture as a discussion and have everyone guess what it is. I really like the picture puzzles on Register and then just type in "Bildr├Ątsel" into the search box there for free downloadable pictures. The photographers generally include a picture "solution" that you can share when comments start to run dry. Pairs include these:

    Interactive games for adults: Fun, but not collaborative!

    You can create your own games, and the range is virtually endless. But where is the line between a game and an exercise? Many ready games are Flash-based, which has to be installed on the computers you are using. You'll find interactive language games at Spotlight, designed by Macmillan.

    Hat tip to Markus Brendel of Der Englisch Blog: Markus embeds in his blog is Sheepman, a German-English idiom translation game that has sheep biting the dust. The activities on Nik (Peachey)'s Daily English Activities feel like games. It's a big world of games out there (let's talk about it another day).

    BUT all of these games can also be played alone. You can beam them up on a whiteboard, or use a projector and have someone type what everyone says.

    But in a forum, you're playing together. Collaborating. Even if you're not in the same room.

    • Think of a forum game to play with a class of yours.
    • Write the introductory text.
    • Post as a Ning discussion.
    • Invite others to join.

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