Study (Trinity Dip TESOL), work, writing articles, and a much needed break have all contributed to an extended period of downtime at ELT Sandbox...
But I prefer to look forward rather than back so here is a quick look at a few things that have got me excited about #GBL for language learning over the coming academic year.
1. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
With Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes it is definitely not true!
The premise of the game is simple - one player sits in front of the screen with a ticking time bomb in front of them, while the other(s) sit away from the game screen with the bomb diffusion manual (available for free at bombmanual.com).
The player with the bomb then must describe what she/he sees while the other player finds the relevant instructions and relays them, all the while trying to beat the clock.
The good people at Steel Crate Games Inc have been kind enough to supply me with a review copy so expect a more detailed look at the learning potential of this game soon.
2. Minecraft: Story Mode
Meanwhile, Telltale Games have been driving forward the idea of video games as literary devices creating an award-winning series of interactive fiction games, which put the player in control of the main character.
And now the two have come together with Telltale's latest release, Minecraft: Story Mode.
The only issue has been the suitability of the games content-wise for young learners and teens. Bad language, violence and themes in The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones is unlikely to go down well with stakeholders. However, Minecraft promises to be more child-friendly (as I am sure the game developers are aware that a lot of kids are going to be interested in this game) and could potentially be a great way to get some of my younger language learners engaged in and analysing an interactive adventure story.
3. RPG Maker MV
RPG Maker has been around in various forms for a while but I have never had much of a chance to play with it. I did have a copy of RPG Maker VX Ace but my experiments never amounted to much.
However, a new version is on the way promising easier access to more options and features than ever before.
- multi-platform support allowing creation of games for IOS and Android devices
- addition of mouse and touchscreen support so controls are no longer limited to the keyboard
- higher res graphics and better overall polish
Secondly, with the developers touting RPG Maker as "simple enough for a child" it would be great to get my learners involved in making games. Brainstorming plot ideas, generating dialogues, storyboarding, describing landscapes and settings - it could make for a very interesting and productive learner project.