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I've been looking at ways of applying the principles of experiential learning, embodiment and situated language development, as part of an ongoing research project. I combine elements of alternate…Continue
I don't have a strategy for assessing camps, Paul- I am not teaching EFL! I am an elementary teacher in Portland, Oregon : ) I started out many years ago as an ESL teacher, and my husband of many years is from Vietnam, so I kind of lead an ESL life..
I don't think these camps are formally assessed- I'm under the impression that they are a fun, creative break that the EFL teachers are required to run during regular school vacations. But ask David. He is the head EFL teacher trainer for Seoul public schools, and trains hundreds of teachers several times a year. If anyone can come up with an authentic assessment off the top of his head, it's him!
Is your tutor asking for an assessment for Spywalk 1 or Spywalk 2? Are you approaching this as a research project for your master's? The reason I ask is that usually, in research situations, you need to create and administer a pre and post test. This can be performance based, but you need to decide what you are measuring and how to measure it before the activity begins. And make sure you are measuring the same thing both before and after.
If this is your situation, it will be a big help that you've done a run through of Spywalk. You'll make a much better pre assessment! (Mine, in my master's work sample, had some major flaws that I did not see until post test time.)
I can talk more about assessments if it's valuable, Paul, but again, my experience is with elementary grades. David is an expert in your area, and he might have a great idea on the tip of his tongue. Don't worry about pestering him- he won't hold that against you ; )
Thank you for the clarifications, Paul. I love hearing about these types of ideas and activities- they're so motivational to my own thinking!
I would think that the more agents you have, the harder it will be for the spies to pass the briefcase unnoticed... another reason to limit the players to ten or so : )
Old fashioned elementary ed curriculum (from the 70's to the mid 90's, pre "no child left behind" and the standardized testing hysteria) has many wonderful simulation activities/ themes. When I get some free time, I am going to go through the ones I have and see what could be adapted for EFL use.
Storyline is another program you might find interesting, but it would have to be adapted up for your age group (though you would be surprised how much teachers get into their storylines). Also, don't be fooled- you don't need to buy any "Storylines". All the ones I've done in my own classroom or my kids have done in school have been teacher created, specifically designed for their own students.
Well, I will leave you to the grown-ups now. Thank you for the encouraging words about GPS. Just a quick note- if you want your comments to be posted on my page (right now they are showing up on yours, which is handy when you are cutting and pasting) you need to click the "comment back" button.
Good work, Paul! I hope you find time to post the actual lesson plan in one of our winter or summer camp discussions (here's one, just type "camp" in the search box to find more)
Please keep us updated as to the spontaneous outpouring of L2 language at the end of the Spywalk. I am very curious to know if this happens consistently- exciting finding!
I've capped SpyWalk II at ten players, with an eleventh in reserve. This is due to the fact that my focus is on language production and I want everyone to record their thoughts and actions as the game unfolds (as they did in the first SpyWalk). Unfortunately I can only get hold of ten voice recorders! The recordings are also a great artifact that can be shared and reflected upon after the game has finished and you head back to the classroom.
The GPS thing is a piece of cake. I just used a cheap one I bought for my car and it's not an essential part of the game. The routes can always be drawn on a map the old fashioned way - by pencil. You can also use Google Maps to trace out the route and then add notes or pictures of events that took place in particular spots. Have a look at the list on left side of the SpyWalk route: http://bit.ly/6VzGOj
I'll take care of the copy/pasting thanks. It's not fair to ask you to do all the hard work!
My students are quite a lot older than yours. I teach at a university so most of them are between 19 and 24.
I can see why having you as a behavioural model would be motivational for the younger students, especially if they have a good rapport with you. Perhaps I should have given greater consideration to this factor in my research as I have no empirical evidence to say that it didn't have an influence.
As far as expanding the game goes, as far the narrative is concerned there is no limit to how many spies can be on the tail of the agent with the briefcase. The more players involved will no doubt mean that more will get lost along the way, but this is part of the game. I can understand how this might be too risky for younger learners to play on the streets, but it could work on a campus or school grounds. If it were done at a break time when there were lots of other students around, it would make it easier for those following the briefcase to blend in and play with their double identity.
My students were instructed to use their cell phones to call each other if they lost sight of the "The Fox" so they could get an update of his whereabouts. This also leads to further language production as the calls must be made in English and allows the participant to continue playing and stay in character even if they are alone.
I'm running near the character limit on your comment box so I'll continue in the next one.
Yes, I agree with the 60 min suggestion. For all that prep (teacher and student) there should be a bit more playtime payoff!
I think the game would have proceeded just as well without my direct involvement as a player, as much of the time we were all focused on our own movements and actions. I didn't even know one of the players had shown up until about ten minutes into the game when I first spotted him. He changed clothes too, which made it that much harder to keep track of everyone!
So funny! I think your direct participation probably added to the enthusiasm and... realness? of the game. I say this because it is always more authentic in the classroom when I write along with my students, I drop everything and read when they do... that I am a scientist, I am an artist, I am a mathematician as we do those activities. Makes it all more legitimate and changes the attitudes of the students towards the activity. I teach elementary school. With older students, this might not be as powerful.
I am also curious as to what it would look like to do Spywalk with larger groups. Logistical problems? Can you really send 5 or 6 groups out at once and not lose anybody? BTW, how old are your students? Will you have a larger group going with Spywalk II?
I have NO experience with GPS! I have lived in the same town for 30 years, my car is 14 years old and it's been ages since I have climbed a mountain : ). I will have to check out Tim's site (and update myself!)
Paul, would it be best if I copy/paste my responses, one by one, on your spywalk site, and then you can paste yours, so we preserve the chronological order? Or is that step unimportant?
I think the game would have proceeded just as well without my direct involvement as a player, as much of the time we were all focussed on our own movements and actions. I didn't even know one of the players had shown up until about ten minutes into the game when I first spotted him. He changed clothes too, which made it that much harder to keep track of everyone!
One thing that my participation certainly did do though, was put me on an equal footing with everyone else in the game, which (albeit temporarily) dissolved the power relation of teacher/student. I would say that at no time did any of those involved feel that they were being assessed or observed for any reason external to the game context.
I received quite a lot of ideas in the feedback from my students about improving the experience, some of which I'll be testing out in SpyWalk II. The most unanimous one though was that the game needed to be longer. I think 60 minutes might be the sweet spot for the game as it stands.
My comment about connected environments was referring to the ways in which technology is becoming part of our everyday urban spaces in a non-intrusive way. GPS is a good example of this, and I used it to track the route of "The Fox" in SpyWalk. GPS also permits you to trace out virtual routes in real space, which can help to shape and guide a narrative or shape an experience by making sure the participants encounter specific real world objects, spaces or each other. This is used to great effect in the BlakeWalks project by digital writer Tim Wright. Although BlakeWalks does not have any specific learning objectives, it's a nice example of technology being used to articulate real world experiences. Here's the link to Tim's site:
What I was most surprised with in the design of spywalk was the immediacy of the activity. Some prep, some gathering (I think it was great you had a hard time finding them- good practice at camouflaging!), then an intense half hour of activity.
The most significant part is the spontaneous outpour of L2 at the spywalk's conclusion. Very interesting. I think the activity needs to be replicated a few times, see what happens.
I'm also curious about how your participation affected the game. I'm almost sure it had a positive effect- when a teacher wants to participate herself and lets herself be immersed too, it sends a strong message about the value of the activity. But I'd be curious to check this out and run the game a time or two with you not participating as a player, see what the differences are and not just what I guess they are : ).
...as our environments become more connected with ubiquitous computing and pervasive connectivity, it will only become easier to create narratives in real spaces.
I don't see how the two connect.How does ubiquitous computing support/encourage creating narratives in real spaces? Because students and teachers might have more experience with virtual quest-type games and therefore better understand the platform? Or something else?
I know I'd much rather play a quest-type game in the real world- I have dread and loathing for virtual reality games- my idea of being stuck in purgatory.
Thanks, Paul, and I would be happy to copy/paste any comments anywhere you want ; )
I'm glad you liked the paper! I think there's a lot of untapped learning potential to be unleashed in these kinds of articulated learning experiences, and as our environments become more connected with ubiquitous computing and pervasive connectivity, it will only become easier to create narratives in real spaces.
Wonderful work on the Spywalk project and paper, Paul! I hope you get the chance to post the lesson plan and materials here... it could be a life saver for some beleaguered EFL teachers facing a week of "camp" - not to mention what you will be providing for the students.
Bravo, Paul, A+ in my book!
PS I enjoyed the paper more than the video! Read all the way through it and enjoyed it all.