CALL Criteria for Use of EverQuestII Video Game

Ocelot in full armor with sword on a snowy tundra with orcs running in the background
Meet my virtual identity, Kerrannie

As a computer-assisted language learning (CALL) budding researcher, I selected EverQuestII(EQ2) for my second language acquisition (SLA) research study based on a previous study and similar gaming literature. Little did I know how much reading and advanced vocabulary was involved in this game—vocabulary that you need to know in order to advance to the next level.  Reading fiction is a good way to improve your vocabulary.  Reading while immersed in the context is even better for the language learner!

EQ2 is in the game genre of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).   Scholars like Millard (2002) believe that modern technologies can improve literacy.  I’m using EQ2 combined with SLA strategies as an after school intervention with English language learners’ to see if it will improve their grammar, reading, and vocabulary.

Chapelle (2001) developed criteria for CALL media selection that included language learning potential, learner fit, meaning focus, authenticity, positive feedback, and practicality. Other SLA researchers have used it to vet video game selection for their research (Miller and Hegelheimer, 2006). This criteria is a great way for me to share how impressed I am as an ESL educator with EQ2 as a medium for informal learning. Here are my initial understandings of the fit with the CALL criteria proposed by Chapelle: (albeit brief…)

  • Language Learning Potential: Text-based and/or live chats with native English speakers; written support of all communication in chat logs and speech bubbles; scaffolded introduction to each player’s role; and environment, animation and audible alerts enhance understanding
  • Learner Fit: Current literature indicates promise for gaming for educational purposes; EQ2 is rated T for Teen (ESRB, 2016) for a more approachable theme; and participants are university students who are familiar with online gaming
  • Meaning Focus: Role-play takes on meaning of several narratives on various kingdoms; and encounters provide salutations, skirmishes, and humor,
  • Authenticity: 5000 creatures to encounter on 8000 quests for situated learning encounters with non-playing characters and gamers; capability to build your own virtual identity; and possibility of failure
  • Positive Feedback:  Level-up announcements; tokens for continuance in gameplay; game currency for quest completion; and rewards for being courageous, etc.
  • Practicality: Free up to 91 levels of play; online for ease of access anytime; and tutorials available in-game and on YouTube; and user-friendly tips and error messages.

Drawbacks include the need to have sufficient computer graphic card, hard drive storage space, and the support of a “gaming coach” for those first-time gamers.  I realize that EQ2 is no longer the most sophisticated or popular game since its heyday was around 2011. Actually, this is why I selected this video game for my research study—so that participants will likely not be familiar with it.

References

Millard, E. (2002). Boys and the Blackstuff. National Association of for the Teaching of English (NATE) Newsletter, 16, January.

Chapelle, C. A. (2001). Computer applications in second language acquisition: Foundations for teaching, testing, and research. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Entertainment Software Rating Board. (2016). ESRB Ratings. New York, NY: Entertainment Software Association.  Retrieved from https://www.everquest2.com/news/february-2016-producers-letter-holly

Miller, M., & Hegelheimer, V. (2006). The Sims meet ESL: Incorporating authentic computer simulation games into the language classroom. International Journal of Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 3(4), 311–328.

Case Study: Saudi English Language Learners’ Gameplay

My Schedule for SITE 2014 in Jacksonville, FL

Photo of Sandra Annette Rogers
Find me at the conference and say hello!

Four of my proposals were accepted for presentation at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference in Jacksonville, FL.  I’d love to connect with any of my readers who are also going to SITE. This will be my first time to attend SITE.  I’ll be attending all the presentations on gaming.

Here’s my current schedule for the conference: (All times are Eastern Standard Time.)

1. Poster Session: The Electronic Village Online, An Open-source, International Collaboration for Professional Development,  March 19, 2014 at 5:30-7:00 P.M.

2. Roundtable: How to Make Your Online Course More Accessible, March 20, 2014 at 11:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.

3.Brief Paper: Massive Multi-player Online Role-Playing Games for Language Learning, March 20, 2014 at 3:20-3:40 P.M.

4. Brief Paper: Effective Online Communication in Higher Education, March 21, 2014 at 11:55 A.M to 12:15 P.M.

I hope to see you there!

P.S. Here’s my Padlet wall with all my activities: http://padlet.com/wall/SITE2014

SecondLife: Advantages and Disadvantages for Education

Profile picture of the author's avatar, Sand Guardian
My avatar, Sand Guardian

The following personal reflection on the educational advantages and disadvantages to SecondLife (SL) are based on a single-user’s online experience. In the era of massive multiplayer role-playing games where participants interact in-world in groups (study hall, computer lab, or arcade) as well as online, the following advantages could increase and the disadvantages could decrease.

Disadvantages to SL include the requirements for high-end technical hardware and a specific skill set that can only be learned within the virtual environment (VE). I advocate for the education of the masses in accordance with Paolo Freire. Because SL requires a certain bandwidth capability and computer graphic cards for participation, this creates a barrier for some students.

Secondly, the skill set to function in SL can only be found in this environment, so there is little opportunity to transfer previous knowledge. Perhaps there are games that have the same functions that would make this possible. SL requires learning by trail and error, which hinges on the motivation and personality of a learner. I’m an adventurer type (global learner), so I don’t mind trying and failing. However, from experience as an educator, not all student have the same will or ease. For instance, an analytical learner would need lots of demonstration videos and the rules prior to logging in. Therefore learning preferences should be considered in VEs.

On the other hand, the advantages for SL and other VEs are tremendous. Some of the benefits include accessibility for persons otherwise unable to participate fully in the real world, the affordances lend themselves to learning various content in authentic environments, and the opportunity to unite people. First, SL provides for the following accessibility requirements: text chat, language translations, audio, written descriptions of venues, and remote controlled avatars. I’m not sure all SL venues provide alternative text for venues and activities, but I did see a lot instructions provided at the locations I visited. For example, at a dance floor, a floating ball provided instructions to click the ball and a menu of dance moves appeared. I’d hope that the JAWS (Job Aid With Speech) screen reader would be able to read it for persons requiring that particular accommodation. I haven’t done any research on the accessibility of SL specifically. I learned from research on accessibility that text within images in MS Word cannot be read by JAWS like the speech bubbles, so I’m unsure if the directions can be read by adaptive technologies like JAWS.

Second, the affordance of trying new skills in a simulated environment, especially if that skill may be a dangerous one in real life, is a great advantage.  In a HealthWorkforce Australia document (Walsh, 2010), the use of VEs was proposed as instrumental for education in dentistry:

“A virtual world which is used at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry exposes students to exercises in diagnosing complicated problems, which in
turn eliminates the use of live patients in a risky environment. Such VW are especially useful during the first half of the curriculum when students are inexperienced in patient
care.” (p. 15)

Third, SL provides unique and varied opportunities for gatherings. For example, the Veterans Administration set up an office where veterans can visit and learn about their benefits in SL. Another example is how IBM uses SL to meet virtually with its administrators worldwide. IBM said this environment was much more appealing than teleconferences between boardrooms. I’m a positive thinker, so I believe the opportunities are endless as long as you have the necessary equipment, VE skill set, and motivation.  For more information, read my previous post on the use of SL for educational purposes.

Note; This is part two in a series on SL.

Use of SecondLife for Educational Purposes

Avatar sitting on a crescent moon
I’m over the moon for SecondLife!

SecondLife (SL) could be used in numerous ways to promote student learning. For example, a quick screencast of an avatar presenting the topic would be a great way to gain the learner’s attention. Perhaps the screencast could serve as an advance organizer with an abstract of the content to be presented related to the past unit content. Last semester, I used SL as a backdrop for creating a mini-introduction to a lesson for the USAonline Student Orientation course. This was a less expensive way to gain attention than the fee-based avatars like SitePal.

Secondly, SL is a great format for second language learning. The multi-modal environment allows for rich language experiences. For example, learners have the text-chat and voice option; they have destinations already set up for social interactions; and instructors can set up student-created projects in a designated sandbox. A unique project that the Electronic Village Online (EVO) workshop participants created in SL were machinimas. These are movies made in SL. They even had an awards show as a culminating event. SL is definitely where movie magic can happen to transform users into a fantasy world with outrageous outfits, superhuman abilities, and all sorts of real and unreal critters.

Lastly, I think the richness of the visual graphics and affordances of the movement allow for some great opportunities for storytelling. It dawned on me when I looked at the photos of me on the moon, that I could use these photos to create a children’s story in ebook format. I’ve taken courses on how to write children’s stories and have several completed ones. However, I don’t know how to illustrate them nor do I have the money to hire someone to do it. I plan to publish one on an app in Google Drive called BookieJar. I think I might try to set-up some photos in SL that go along with my story line. I just need to find out the legal issues of using photos taken in other people’s sims (simulated environments).

I am aware that there is a dark side to SL. As with any open source, multi-user platform, educators need to be vigilant of students in virtual environments. One teacher provided a safe virtual platform by using a sim-on-a-stick. This refers to an educational SL version that can be downloaded to computers without going to the public site.  The teacher built  (or added to an existing sim) a simulated trip to mars for his elementary students. The teacher filmed the in-world and real world experience for the girls. It’s awesome!  View his video to see how the students helped each other and used a how-to guide: external link: http://metatek.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/opensim-mars-simulation.html.

Note: This is the first in a series about SL.

Contributors to my PLN for Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL)

Dear Readers,
This is a partial and random list of educators I follow in my personal learning network (PLN).  Some folks are new to my network, while others I have known for some time.  Of course, these are mainly virtual acquaintances only, as I only get to see some of these professionals if we both attend a TESOL convention or other live event.  I used this style of a blog post on my nonprofit blog and really liked how it looked.  I hope you do, too.  If you don’t know these folks, find them on Twitter!  You can find me @teacherrogers. I listed these educators in my PLN titled the Online Educator, which feeds my Twitter-based newspaper on Paper.li: http://paper.li/teacherrogers/1301595898#.

Freelance Educational Consultant, Award Winning Writer and Course Designer, Specialist Technology Trainer, Blogger, Conference Speaker, Lecturer in Media & Tech

Business English trainer based in Erfurt. Fascinated by how English brings our world ever closer together.

ELT educator and magician in affective language learning with young learners. Storyteller, puppeteer, and frog collector.

ISTE’s Mobile Learning SIG, Mobile Learning Devices (MLDs)

curriculum design, instructional design, elearning, computer assisted language learning, corporate and blended learning development. (Moodle LMS, TESOL, TESL)

Autonomous ‘Personal Learning Networks’ for Language Teachers. An EU funded project.

ESL Teacher, Webhead, Mum….. I would love to change the world, but I can only change myself. But I CAN influence people around me by what I choose to do.

Podcasting Evo Session 2012 provides basic training in the production and publishing of digital media files (podcasts) and its use in the ESL/EFL classroom.

21st Century Digital Citizen living and learning on the web. Mi Identidad con la red de docentes en español – http://puentesalmundo.net

Dr. Nellie Deutsch is an expert on blended and blended online learning and the founder of Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL).

I am a senior lecturer at the Department of Languages at the British Open University

ESAP teacher; ICT consultant; e-tutor. Interested in reading, learning technologies and functional diversity.

Helping language teachers incorporate technology.

Adult ESOL, ELL, TESOL, idioms, storytelling, poetry, online & blended learning, flowers, art, UU, intercultural, peace, photography, stop bullying, quotes,more

EFL teacher for over 12 years in Spain.

I am a teacher trainer at the Department of English, Faculty of Education, Olomouc, Czech Republic. I specialize in History, Lexicology, Art and ICT for ELT.

Retired EFL teacher. Teacher trainer and e-trainer in Web 2.0 tools. Lifelong learner. Member of the Webheads in Action CoP.

An EFL teacher,teaching all age groups and levels. My main interests are online teaching and learning and enhancing creativity in the language classroom.

We created a Wiki for our TESOL Intersection Presentation

How can 7 people plan a presentation for a TESOL Intersection?  By using Google Docs, wikis, emails, and Skype.  If you can’t make it to our TESOL 2011 presentation, you can visit our wiki and see all the details.  This intersection is between the Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL-IS) and Elementary Education Interest Sections.  Additionally, you can hear the webcast recording that will be hosted on the CALL-IS wiki.  See info about my schedule at TESOL in a previous blog.

http://esoltechprep.pbworks.com/w/page/36440308/FrontPage

Web cast recording of this session:
https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2011-03-18.0719.M.7AE801FFB697DA460D4BF25AA8C21B.vcr&sid=75

I’d love to answer questions or discuss your feedback.

Sandra Rogers