Breathing a Second Life into the L2 Curriculum: Google, Gaming, and Language Learning for the GNUbie (Douglas W. Canfield, UT-Knoxville)
A disconnect exists between the academy and what students are doing. How do we reach millenials?
By age 21, students will have spent tens of thousands of hours playing video games, sending emails, watching TV, and on their cell phones, but less than 5000 hours reading. So, it’s no wonder they don’t relate to textbooks. “Ancillary” or “supplemental” materials lack context and is, at best, inauthentic. But the textbook is still the driving force. [What about those languages that don’t -have- a reliable textbook? What have they been doing for the past few years? Maybe we can learn from their teaching styles / methods…]
Delivery truck method: are you going to eat shrimp from a store that doesn’t use a rrefrigerated truck? [Ew. No way.] Education is the same way – /how/ one delivers is as important as what one delivers. [Still not a big fan of lumping all of today’s students into one group. Yeah, it’s convenient, but I think that splitting up into ‘they’ and ‘we’ is a fundamentally flawed way of looking at the student-teacher dynamic, especially considering the really complex way students interact with technology and with each other.]
[We’re spending a lot of time talking about “The Millenial Mindset” and talking about how you could use YouTube to create assignments that students could then work on while they’re on their cell phones … but we’re not talking about the fact that students may have abandoned email and moved onto text messaging precisely –because– it’s not connected with their education. Who says we should be using iPhones for homework?]
Second Life: the world is what you make of it. You can customize everything, and you can use it even if you’re not a geek. [I would argue using second life makes you a geek. myself included.] There’s even a Teen Grid available, and Graham Stanley is working on language learning communities in the Teen Grid. Voice chat is on its way, too. And apparently you can integrate Moodle with it? San Jose State has a Sloodle area on their SL island. Other SL possibilities: Role Playing, study abroad / acclimation, virtual office hours or classrooms.