ABC Dungeon

Started a little open-source #unity game and put on GitHub


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BusyWorks — a Business English Live Action Role-play on Facebook

Are you teaching Business English? Introduce your students to BusyWorks on Facebook. This is a little side project I’ve started where English language learners can join up to role-play as company workers.


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Thesis Online

My thesis titled Affordances Toward Fluency: Second Language Emergence in a Classroom Role-playing Game is available to download freely from the Sookmyung Women’s University library. This study takes a complex, dynamic systems approach in analyzing the fluency of two groups of students as they iterate through sessions of League of Explorers during one semester of study. If you’re curious about using role-playing games from this site in your class or for doing research, check it out and let me know what you think!


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League of Explorers

I’ve updated the site with a page on League of Explorers, a game about exploring the world’s cultures that is run similar to Deadway. Here are quick links to LoE passport/character sheets, a sample mission page, and an XP spreadsheet.

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Imagined Selves in Imagined Worlds: Identity and Power in Negotiated Communities

Here’s a mini-research paper I wrote last year and published in Issues in EFL. It plays around with the ideas of imagined communities and group intersubjectivity. The abstract:

This mini-research project explores the identities
and power structures formed within a negotiated
community (NC) that emerges from implementing a
classroom role-playing game (CRPG) with university
students. General theories of SLA have noted that
output and interaction are requisites for L2 acquisition,
while more social theories have called attention
to conflicting identities and power structures that
may aid or hinder the amount and types of such interactions
as they occur during acculturating into a
discourse community. This paper expands on
Norton’s (2001) interpretation of imagined communities
to introduce NCs, which are dynamic, collaboratively
imagined communities that are created and
mediated in real-time in the classroom. Through a
questionnaire and interviews, this paper explores to
what extent students felt invested in their fictional
identities as well as how equal they felt the power
structures were in the NC. The results of this project
suggest that the majority of students were invested
in their identities, and that they definitively agreed
that power was spread equally, although not necessarily
due to the specifically examined game mechanics
of the CRPG presented in this paper.

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Tiny Hearts – Updated Character Sheets

I designed new character sheets for Tiny Hearts for use in the RSCON 2014 presentation. These are more in-depth than the one in the demo chapter and reflect an adaptation of the Deadway-like ruleset, which is the underlying mechanic I use for most all general English classrooms from young learners to university students these days. The back of the character sheet has a tutorial, rather than just rules, to help teachers in scaffolding the activity. The PDF can be downloaded here.

Tiny Hearts Character Sheet

Tiny Hearts Character Sheet2



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Tiny Hearts at RSCON 2014 – Sat, Jul 11th, 11am EST

I will be presenting on Tiny Hearts at this year’s Reform Symposium Free Online Conference (RSCON 2014) on Saturday, July 11th at 11am EDT / 4pm UK (Friday midnight KST). This is a framework for young learners I developed earlier this year during an EVO session. I will put materials up on this blog regarding that framework before the session, in the meantime here is the brief session abstract:

It has been argued that language learning is an interplay between the cognitive and the social (e.g., Atkinson, 2002), and that using language in socially meaningful ways is key to L2 development (Sykes & Reinhardt, 2012). In addition, the notions of investment and identity in imagined communities (e.g., Norton & Toohey, 2011) posit that learners have various and shifting desires to engage in classroom practices.Therefore, structuring a classroom into a dynamic negotiated community in which social power is evenly distributed and identities are free to explore could offer beneficial effects on L2 acquisition. From these theoretical backgrounds, this presentation will introduce Tiny Hearts, a classroom role-playing game.

In Tiny Hearts, young learners assume the identities of sentient toys earning hearts as they interact with each other and the imagined environment. Working together, students role-play through missions. Each mission can either end favorably or take a wrong turn.Individualized characters, unscripted storylines, dangerous and dramatic situations, as well as unpredictable mission results mean that every lesson is a unique and engaging experience for both the teacher and students.

In this session, I will first introduce classroom role-playing games and compare how they are different from other activities. Referring to a sample chapter created for an EVO session earlier this year, I will then describe how the game is implemented by scaffolding it over the course of several lessons, such that students can succeed each time without it seeming complicated.

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