Filming in Second Life to Create Machinima

Meeting of avatars in Second Life
I’m the grey cat avatar.

Photo of MachinEVO moderators providing a training session in SecondLife in EduNation.

This is one of my first film assignments as part of the MachinEVO workshop. I was in a group filming a story about a magician on a ship. It’s a humorous story, so I used some corny  music (Sorry, Gsus) for the sinking ship scene. I was already familiar with the screencasting software, Camtasia Studio. The toughest part for me was trying to maneuver the screen shots in Second Life from a live action shot. I’m at the mid skill range in SecondLife.

My participation in this workshop is part of my on-the-job training for my doctoral internship with let’s talk online in Belgium. Heike Philp is the coordinator of my internship and moderator of the MachinEVO workshop. I just finished five weeks of robust training with her and her co-moderators! We even had a film showing and cast party afterwards. I created a few other machinima during this time that I will share in different posts.

The moderators shared many different resources, tips, and demonstrations. One tip I followed was the use of for free background music. It offers fee-based and free MP3 downloads. They have a great collection of music. It was easy to register and start using it right away.

Sinking Ship set to electronic guitar version of Titanic:

Logic Model of Trace Effects

Logic Model of Trace Effects

Rogers, S. (2014). Program theory logic model of Trace Effects videogame. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2014 (pp. 1662-1674). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Gaming as an Instructional Strategy for Language Learning

Icon of game consul

What empirical evidence exists as to the efficacy of gaming as an instructional strategy? More specifically, how can massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORGs) be used to learn a second language? Gaming provides situated learning of content in a problem-based learning (PBL) format (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). Therefore, language learning games are generally created with an adventure, problem-solving scenario. For example, Trace Effects, a 3-D multimedia interactive video game, was designed specifically for English language learners (ELLs) ages 12-16 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It’s an adventure game where the protagonist goes through the task of trying to get enrolled in an American university and become familiar with its surrounding community/city. The various levels of the game take you to different American communities (e.g., New Orleans) for rich situated learning among the varied cultural settings. PBL provides meaningful learning, resulting in deeper understandings and longer retention (Hung, Bailey, & Jonassen, 2003).  PBL in simulated environments offers a variety of language-based scenarios with nonplaying characters providing model language support for vocabulary and grammar development. Prior to Trace Effects (2012), there were very few effective games created specifically for ELLs. Therefore, research focused on the use of existing commercial simulated games combined with language support material to determine if gaming was an effective strategy for language learning.

In such a study, it was found that MMORGs combined with second language acquisition theory aided student learning of languages (Rankin, Gold, & Gooch, 2006). Four intermediate and advanced level, college-aged ELLs played with playing and nonplaying characters on Ever Quest 2 (EQ2), a commercial adventure game not specifically created for ELLs. EQ2 provides opportunities for the characters to speak; nonplaying characters verbalize the rules and alerts to players. In this  study, they questioned whether EQ2 would aid ELLs and how; they also wanted to find out if there was sufficient support for ELLs within the game. Students played the game four hours a week for four weeks. The researchers analyzed their game log scripts for vocabulary for testing purposes. No supporting English language material was used with the game. Overall, solely from interacting with nonplaying characters,  participants increased their English language vocabulary by 40%. The nonplaying characters provided support by modeling language; in fact, the more they modeled, the higher the accuracy in vocabulary meaning. Rankin et al. did not gather data on vocabulary acquisition with the playing characters. The authors acknowledged their small sample size and called for more investigations of this type given the positive outcomes.


CALL Resources on Diigo for Teacher Training

Previously posted on the TESOL blog on 31 October 2011 by Sandra Rogers

Do you Diigo?  To be honest, I signed up but never used the online social-bookmarking tool. Fortunately,  TESOL’s Computer-assisted Language Learning (CALL) Interest Section has been busy bookmarking some great online resources.  Dr. Elizabeth Hanson-Smith shared the Diigo CALL-IS Virtual Software List on the TESOL CALL Community:  This list contains tons of resources on various teaching topics! However, this post focuses only on the teacher-training videos.

Here are some of Dr. Hanson’s recommendation for teacher-training videos:

1. Bridge TEFL Videos Teach English:
A teacher training site with videos on how to work in a classroom. You have to register to login but can view three videos without registering.  Check out: “Breaking Bad Teaching Habits.”

2. Teacher Training PresentationsSchool of TEFL

These free videos generally show teachers at work in the classroom, leading games and activities, teaching vocabulary and grammar, assessing speech, co-teaching, etc.  These would be very useful for the teacher-in-training or for the old dog who would like to see some new tricks.

3. Dr. Hanson’s personal favorite: From Good to Outstanding | Teachers TV

These wonderful videos take you from initial lessons to interviews with teachers and students to advice by the expert, and a view of how those lessons are put to use in the classrom. Amazingly good teacher training in 26 videos.

4. TeacherTube Professional Development Videos

Like most items at TeacherTube, these videos are uneven in content and production values, but contain several real gems. You have to register/sign in.

5. BBC audio programs:
For teachers – Radio programmes: Innovations in Teaching

6. Arts Impact Teacher Training Video

“See the Arts Impact program in action as teachers participate in the summer institute and teach the arts in their classrooms. Hear comments from participating teachers and artist mentors.”  This is a very nice teacher training video if you are using drama and/or art in the classroom. Great ideas.

7. YouTube Shaping the Way We Teach English: Introduction

This is a teacher training series funded by the U.S. government titled, “Shaping the Way We Teach English, Successful Practices Around the World.” These introductory materials
are designed for English as a foreign language educators. Professionally produced but excellent ideas can be applied in many circumstances.

For more information on CALL related professional development resources, visit my page about the Electronic Village Online (EVO).

EVO: A Collaborative Professional Development Project

Teacherrogers is now on

Dear Readers,

I started a podcast on English language pronunciation issues and Spanish for medical usage.  The English language podcasts are for English language learners (ELLs),  and the Spanish language podcasts are for medical professionals to use Spanish-speaking patients.  The latter serves as a job aid for those who need to practice Spanish on the job.  I’ll be adding more soon.  Check it out!

This links takes you to the list of recordings on the podcast:

CALL Community Newsletter: Making Connections Highlights Members

Sandra has been teaching for 20 years. She’s actively involved with the Electronic Village Online (EVO) and currently serves on the coordination team. You may have read some of her CALL-related blogs on TESOL. She freelances for and In addition, Sandra runs a virtual nonprofit to help the unemployed find work on

Affiliation: Teacherrogers Consulting

Years in the CALLIS: 2 years (2009-2011)

Q: Favorite platform?

A: Well, in the past newsletters this referred to the computer operating system. I use Windows XP, but it’s not really my favorite. As an online teacher, I’d like to add that my favorite learning management system platform is eCollege (Pearson).

Q: For you, what is the one indispensable tool/webpage?

A: That depends on my resources for the project. Camtasia Relay for screencasting with a budget because I can edit and add closed-captioning. for screencasting without a budget―no editing feature so you have to do retakes! Screencasters help you meet the standards for quality online instruction, such as virtual tours, lecture capturing, demonstrations, one-on-one specific help, and student presentations and/or intros.
Q: What is your most unexpected source of information about CALL?

A: I didn’t realize that the CALLIS helped create the Principles and Practices of Online Teaching certificate courses and that some of the CALL members actually teach the classes, too.

Q: What was your favorite CALL creation?

A: I’d have to say my e-portfolio blog that I created in Vance Stevens’ Multiliteracies EVO 2010 session. It has become my go-to place for everything I do―my landing strip! I blog about my trials and errors with integrating technology into education and post all of my projects there.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Besides training moderators as an EVO coordination team member, I’m also mentoring the PLN/PLE moderators for #2012evo. I continue to blog for TESOL, my eportfolio, and my nonprofit. For BrokeButNotForLong, Inc., I’ve decided to migrate all of our content to Google sites like Blogger for Blogging4Broke to save money. We recently received a Google grant for free AdWords, so you should be seeing more of Broke in online searches in a few months. For my own career, I’ve launched Teacherrogers Consulting for Literacy, Language & Social Media Solutions.

Q: What area would you like to see developed/researched?

A: I’ll echo what Andy Bowman said back in 2008: “More computer-like devices created specifically for language learning.” And I want to help create one, so give me a call!

Q: In a sentence, what advice would you give to a newbie starting out in CALL?

A: Take the Electronic Village Online free professional training in January!

Q: What is your funniest CALL-related incident?

A: OK, since Laine (Helaine) Marshall has a good sense of humor, I’d like to describe our first face-to-face encounter. I was running to a session at the TESOL convention in New Orleans when I passed her by. I turned around because I recognized her face from her thumbnail photos on Yahoo IM. She became a great mentor to me during my first attempt at moderating a session for EVO in 2009. However, I wasn’t sure it was her because of her petite stature. Laine had become such a giant in my mind that I didn’t expect her to be so small! I explained this to her, and we both laughed because she didn’t expect me to be so tall.

Link to full article: