I wrote early in this course that I have little interest, actually no interest in playing games. And this course has not increased my desire to play games, nor did I expect it to. This was not my reason for attending this course, nor the purpose of the course. I’m fifty-nine years old and if I were going to develop an appetite for games it would likely have developed some time ago. Although, I do realize that many “normal” people enjoy gameplay and that my having an aversion to it is unusual. And yet, if videogames can be used as an effective teaching tool that have a capacity for decreasing learning anxiety while improving motivation, I’m all for them. I have learned in this course that this is indeed the case, and certain games also offer some additional benefits, such as socialization, and an immersive environment for L2 learning.
The fact that this course encourages “interest-driven learning” permitted me the freedom to explore L2 learning and SLA, through videogames. After a bumpy start, as I felt I bit overwhelmed due to the course being primarily run from a blog, I did indeed catch on and begin to pursue my focus on L2 learning through videogames. I was also exposed to several other tools that I intend to use in my teaching and became more skilled at others that I was introduced to earlier in this graduate program. Let me first touch on those that I was previously exposed to. They are Twitter and screencasting. Twitter was used throughout the course and I was therefore forced to become more proficient with it. It is valuable for addressing learner questions, both those addressed to the professor, as well as those asked of peers. Twitter has therefore been added to my bag of teaching tools. Screencasts were posted by the professor and I found them very helpful and surprisingly personal. I have also experienced other professors that use this tool, as well as tech how-to screencasts posted on YouTube. This course required that I submit a presentation as a screencast, and I was therefore required to learn the basics of screencasting, which I accomplished using the ScreenFlow app. The finished product was not what I was hoping for, but it is a start, and I can work to improve this valuable skill when time permits. I also added screencasting to my bag of teaching tools.
The most valuable new tool that I was exposed to and one that I quickly learned, as well developed a fondness for is Hypothesis. Prior to using this tool, I printed nearly all of my academic readings, organized them in binders, tagged the most important pages, highlighted certain passages, and made numerous annotations in the margins. Hypothesis not only saves time and natural resource but also permitted me to quickly search my annotations on their website, which adds to its value as an organizing and time-saving tool. The affinity space Graphite is another time-saving resource that I developed a fondness for. I’m not teaching but plan to start later this year and I, therefore, needed just this type of resource that is designed for educators. Well, I hope that all the above offers a good overview of my experience in this course which was well worth my time. Thanks for the playful experience!