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German Course

Page history last edited by Heike Philp 10 years, 3 months ago

A German Course

in Second Life

Grenzenlos, Vienna

 

Rationale behind this German course

 

Many language schools around the world tend to have a computer lab or more often than not there is a mixture of computer and language training center. With this in mind we conceptionalised the course so as to utilize these local facilities as a “existing technical infrastructure with working headset and microphones and with local support” to provide a complementary Second Life learning experience. Complementary in the sense that the main teaching was to be done in a structured course and that additional language practice sessions would be done in Second Life. In this set-up the language school teaches target languages which are not spoken locally and where Second Life access would enrich the learning experience by exposing the learners to native speakers online.

This model would apply to many learners in Europe who do not have a computer or internet connection at home and especially adult learners who need assistance with computer skills and to own a computer was not a requirement.

One of the effects which we have been wanting to utilize is the so-called “hole in the wall” effect which Sugata Mitra has explored with his India project. In various places in India he positioned computers put in concrete with keyboard and touch mouse and as soon as a group of children were able to explore this computer together they learnt within 3-4 months computer skills on the level of the European Computer Driving License. This effect does not happen when one child has one computer as Dr. Mitra has researched with groups of learners in schools. But as soon as a group of learners around one computer that is when they learn very fast by watching each other.

 

The German course at Grenzenlos

 

This German course at Grenzenlos did not meet the above mentioned requirements because the participants did not have a structured language course and they already were in the target country, one of them even already 20 years. The students are voluntary workers from various countries in Europe and were in Vienna to work and to learn German. So, in this sense the course did not provide added value because the students were already immersed in a German environment and instead were hoping for a structured language course.

Also none of the learners as far as we were aware had access to the computer at home or outside the 90min lesson a week.

Level testing did not take place and because of the lack of contact to the learners and at times because we did not know whether they are not speaking because they had microphone problems or because they couldn’t speak. The course set out to be a complete beginner course but the majority of the students were well above the level of a complete beginner. We realized that we did not challenge them enough especially when introducing them to numbers etc. and adjusted our course plan accordingly and went beyond beginner level very quickly.

Whilst in the original concept it was not required for the students to have access to computers at home, in this setting without a structured course and without regular access to the computer lab it was not possible to encourage the students to enter Second Life at additional times by giving them peer-to-peer work. This is why we did not maintain email contact on a weekly basis and the only email experience was the initiation email of the learning management system which no-one could access but which no-one complained neither that they could not access it. So they simply did not receive the email with the log-in information to the learning management system.

An additional difficulty was that the students did enter the office of Grenzenlos 20-30min before the lesson as we requested them to be. Stefan was present early and started already the computers but rarely did we see the first person going online earlier than the full hour when the lesson is supposed to take place. Some even came up to 15min late. Not normally a big problem however because of the continuous problems with sound issues this meant that we could not start the lesson earlier than about 20 past the full hour. This upset those who were on time until we decided to begin the lesson at a place which in itself is very interesting and allowed those who were early to explore the place until everybody was ready. We often thought of starting the lesson on time regardless but this is very difficult if you can only talk to one or two people. And by allowing them to explore a beautiful gallery in Dresden for example we hoped to motivate them to come early.

An additional problem we faced was that the students were hearing each other voices in real and then slightly delayed because of the voice over IP that this greatly irritated the whole listening experience. Also sometimes they chatted with each other rather than listen to the teacher and mic passing often was delayed because of having to enable the mics so as not to cause echos.

Despite the many challenges, the course participants expressed their appreciation about an innovative and fun course. Attendance was average with some of the participants having been there every time and some sporatically.

 

Learners

  • Asli Armann aka Asli Chayoo, Turkey
  • Agate Gludina aka Gia Composer, Lettland
  • Nil Yüce aka Nilantha Draconia, Turkey
  • Maja Panevska aka Majaleon2010 Rae, Macedonia
  • Beatriz Pena Sanz aka Beatricita Batista,
  • Sezen Albaz aka Jacqueline Eberdene, Lettland
  • Kim Jacobsen aka Kim Drachis, Norway
  • Shaul Huber aka Karoly63 Bravitz, been living in Vienna for about 2 decades, originally from Israel (63 years old, not a volunteer worker)
  • Johanna Mosquera aka Hermusita McAuley, Columbien
  • Michael Hart aka Mishael Westminster, Canada (not Grenzenlos related, participant from Canada who asked for some German lessons)

 

Trainers

Nika (Hajnalka) Beck aka Dorka Nemeth has been graduate teaching assistant and lecturer at the University of Göttingen in the department of intercultural German language and literature studies and in the lecturate German as a Foreign Language as well as graduate chairperson of the project IDIAL. She studied German languages and literature and Slavonic studies at the college of education Karloy Eszterhazy in Eger (Hungary) as well as at the University of Göttingen. In 2007 she received further qualification for German as a foreign language (DaF) and in 2008 she qualified as live online teacher. Beck has been involved in teaching at a distance in real-time since 2005 and this led to a co-development of an online learning plattfrom with an Hungarian company from 2006 to 2007. She has been teaching in Second Life since 2007.

 

Heike Philp, managing director of LANCELOT School GmbH, a teacher training center for language teachers in the use of virtual classroom technology. Philp taught German for a period of 4 years in Japan and in England. She is however not a qualified DaF teacher.

 

Technical Support

Stefan Schmid aka Stefan Fireflight, Vienna

 

Course Curriculum Overview

1st lesson, 10 March 2010, Greetings

2nd lesson, 17 March 2010, Greetings and small dialogues

3rd lesson, 24 March 2010, Numbers and football

No lesson - 31 March 2010 (Easter break)

4th lesson, 7 April 2010, Second Life tour, visit to virtual Cologne, Munich, Berlin of the 20s

5th lesson, 14 April 2010, Animal names, visit to the Zoo

6th lesson, 21 April 2010, set-up of access to learning management and surveys

7th lesson 28 April 2010, Doctors visit and visit at a dentist

8th lesson 5 May 2010, (fell-out because the group took a training and Nika met Mishael and Karoly only)

9th lesson 12 May 2010, Visit to a romantic parc

10th lesson 19 May 2010, Visit Japan resort, a tropical island

 

Self-study material

Course curriculum was partly taken from Wolkenkratzer, an online book for German as a Foreign Language

http://www.lernbuch-zentrum.de/

and partly from the coursematerial in Lingvico, which is a purpose built learning management system co-developed by Hajnalka Beck.

 

10-week Course Description

German Beginner Course

 

Impressions (summary video)


 

1st lesson, 10 March 2010,  "Woher kommen Sie/ kommst du?" - Länder und Nationalitäten

and simple dialogues: http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion1.php  

 

Objective
To practise common German greetings including “How are you?” and “Where are you from?”

 

Online Material

Wolkenkratzer, Lehrwerk für Deutsch als Fremdsprache , Lektion 1, Simple dialogues

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion1.php 

Wolkenkratzer, Lehrwerk für Deutsch als Fremdsprache , Lektion 1, Übung 13, country names

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion1.php?uid=13

 

Methodology
Using large maps laid on the floor of the sandbox on which the participants could move freely, we asked them to identify their country and to stand on top of it.

 

Tools
Two large oversize maps placed on the floor. To create these maps a picture of a world map and a picture of a European map are being uploaded. To upload an image 10 Linden dollars is required. Board size 10m x 10m x 0,05m.

 

Location
AVALON Learning Sandbox
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/AVALON%20Learning/108/76/36

 

Activities
Listening activity
The teacher mentions the country and the students are asked to move to the respective country.

We concluded the activities by taking the students from the sandpit to the meeting area because we wanted them to sit down so as to be able to look at themselves from the front.

 

SL Skills
Talk button, toggle on and off, walking, sitting down

 

Plan versus reality
It took long to get started but once we got started the students very much enjoyed running to the countries.

 

Recording


2nd lesson, 17 March 2010, Greetings and small dialogues and "Sie und du"

 

Objective
Repetition of greetings and new language

 

Online Material

Wolkenkratzer, Lehrwerk für Deutsch als Fremdsprache , Lektion 1, Übung 13, country names

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion1.php?uid=13

Wolkenkratzer, Lehrwerk für Deutsch als Fremdsprache , Lektion 1, Übung 4, "Sie und du"

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion1.php?uid=4

 

Methodology
The large maps are used again for the repetition. The students readily took up their position on their respective maps. This time we could ask them to do peer-to-peer work.

 

Tools
The same two large oversize maps placed on the floor.

 

Location
AVALON Learning Sandbox
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/AVALON%20Learning/108/76/36

 

Activities
Listening activity
The teacher mentions the country and the students are asked to move to the respective country.

 

SL Skills
No new skills learnt

 

Plan versus teaching reality
During this second lesson we experienced massive audio issues and also the participants turned up very late, some up to 15 min into the lesson and until all of the sound issues were sorted it took 40min and not even then did we experience a problem free lesson. This is why of the 90min we only could utilize 30min and because of the shortness of time we basically only repeated the lesson from the week before.

 

Recording


3rd lesson, 24 March 2010, Numbers and football

 

Objective
Learning how to count numbers, some nouns and plurals of nouns

 

Online material

Wolkenkratzer, Lehrwerk für Deutsch als Fremdsprache , Lektion 1, Übung 25

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion1.php?uid=25 

 

Methodology
Using dice to learn the numbers

 

Tools
We rezzed objects such as balls and used some dice

 

Location
AVALON sandbox
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/AVALON%20Learning/108/76/36

 

Activities
The lesson started with Nika placing a number of balls on the sandbox

 

SL Skills
None

 

Plan versus teaching reality
Due to lack of participants and discussing why they had not done any learning exercises we realized that none of them received the registration email and that we had to re-initialise log-in data etc.

 

Recording


No lesson - 31 March 2010 (Easter break)


4th lesson, 7 April 2010, Second Life TOUR, visit to virtual Cologne, virtual Munich, Berlin of the 20s

 

Objective
Sightseeing in Second Life and city tour

 

Methodology
We teleported from place to place to introduce the participants to the virtual places in Second Life.

 

Locations
Virtual Munich
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Munich%20City/50/50/50

Dome in Cologne
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Koelner%20Dom/6/128/35

Berlin of the 20s
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dudintsev/126/58/500


Activities
We teleported from city to city and in the Berlin of the 20s we had to change clothes in order to enter the city. This took some time so that we broke the tour off there.

 

SL Skills
Teleporting, camera controls with the mouse (ALT+mouse movements)

 

Plan versus teaching reality
It was a great tour. Unfortunately though we did not do any recordings.

 

Additional infos
However, to get an impression of the Berlin of the 20s, I am recommending to watch the video which has been taken, when we were toured by Jo Yardley (SL name) during an event some 2 weeks later.

 

 


5th lesson, 14 April 2010, Animal names, visit to the Zoo

 

Objective
Learning animal names, the names of the countries where they live and other descriptive adjectives such as tall, small, fast, slow etc.

 

Methodology
We visited a zoo and learned animal names.

 

Online material

Animal names

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion15.php?uid=1

 

Tools
Neunkirchen Saar Zoo - the biggest zoo in Second Life with more than 200 animals in a lovely created landscape
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Neunkirchen%20Saar/116/123/27

 

Activities
We walked from enclosure to enclosure and looked at a group of animals and asked the students what their names are. It was suprising to hear that Jacqueline knew most of the animal names already. The teacher typed the name in the text chat. She then revealed that she worked as an au-pair with children and learned all of the animal names with them

We concluded the activity by going down into the sea through a glass tube and where we discovered some dead pirates standing next to a laden treasure box.

 

SL Skills
Walking, how to take snapshots

 

Plan versus teaching reality
Interestingly because Nika was delayed, I walked the participants from fence to fence and at times the animal Gehege were filled with one kind of animal (bears for example) but sometimes with several different animals. Since you can not use gestures in Second Life I did not really know how to point at different animals to make sure they students understood which is which. Nika solved this problem by jumping over the fence and standing right next to the animal. Something that would have not even occurred to me. Very funny.  Unintentionally Nika turned up in an non-human avatar, she wore some bright yellow animal shape costume which in the shortness of time she did not change.

 

Recordings


6th lesson, 21 April 2010, set-up of access to learning management and surveys

 

Objective
To confirm registration of the learning management system. Unintentionally this took more than 1 hour because emails went stray and we felt it necessary to do this during class since many of the participants have little access to the internet.

 

Methodology
None specific but we thought about how to screenshare our screens to help them with the set-up. In Second Life this was real difficult. What would have taken us 15min in a virtual classroom took more than an hour.

 

Tools
The participants were introduced to the Learning Management System of Lingvico, which has been used by Hajnalka Beck for a number of years and which contains numerous German language learning activities in form of multiple choice, audio files and other interactive exercises.

 

Activities
None other than signing them up to the learning management system and to

 

SL Skills
None

 

Plan versus teaching reality
Due to lack of participants and discussing why they had not done any learning exercises we realized that none of them received the registration email and that we had to re-initialise log-in data etc.

 

Recording
No recordings took place because of dealing with administrative matters.


7th lesson 28 April 2010, Doctors visit and visit at a dentist

 

Objective
Learning vocabulary of conversations around art

 

Methodology
We visited Dresden gallery and enjoyed walking through the various rooms.

Then we went to a center with various doctor examination rooms and dental facilities and

rehearsed a doctor visit.

 

Online material

Doctor, body parts

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion8.php?uid=14 

 

Tools
Dresdner gallery
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dresden%20Gallery/120/128/26

Danish Vision which is a private initiative by Inge Qunhua who built open rooms with replicas for doctor visits, dentists, eye doctors, operating theatre etc.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Danish%20Visions/36/217/25

 

Activities
Initially whilst waiting for some to log in, I asked those already online to explore the area. Lateron we toured the facilities as a group talking about the pictures and the artists.

 

SL Skills
No additional skills

 

Plan versus teaching reality
A foreigner saw us standing as a group and approached us in a friendly manner. I invited this person to talk to our group of learners and invited the students to ask questions. The person kindly volunteered to answer the few questions which came and it turned out that he is a Turkish person living in Germany.

 

Recording

(coming soon)


8th lesson 5 May 2010, (fell-out because the group took a training and Nika met Mishael and Karoly only)


9th lesson 12 May 2010, Visit to a romantic parc

 

Objective
Learning all vocabulary such as how to man meets woman and how to convince her or him to go out for a date.

 

Methodology
Role play of man meets woman in romantic settings.

 

Online material

Traumpartner

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion14.php?uid=4

 

Tools
Wdt planet, an attempt to create Alice in Wonderland in Second Life
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/WDT%20Planet/166/68/674

WDT Planet
http://www.wdtplanet.com/wdt/

 

Activities
In these romantic settings we asked the students to position them underneath the gate made of rocks and to talk to each other with the goal of inviting her or him for a date, passing of compliments and question regarding already existing relationships. Small talk was obviously also very important although some of the students never progressed beyond the small talk.

 

SL Skills
How to utilized the blue ball for men and the pink ball for women to assume positions such as hugging, couple dancing and kissing.

 

Plan versus teaching reality
This role-play was fantastic because it really got the learners talking. Also it nicely provoked language because in one situation for example, the student played “hard to get” which was totally natural. But the funniest of the situations was a role-play by Nilantha and Karoly63 because they were sitting right next to each other and in RL Nilantha is a young fabulous looking Turkish woman in her beginning 20s and Karoly is 63 years old. So all romantic feeling were quickly gone and they never progressed beyond talking about their daily lifes.

 

Recording


10th lesson 19 May 2010, Visit Japan resort, a tropical island

 

Objective
Learning all of the vocabulary to do with summertime at the beach

 

Methodology
We went to Japan resort, a populated tropical island which hosts a barbecue sitting area, a swimming pool with bar, some comfortable sitting areas, bonfires and an open air discothek. There are always people at Japan resort and many of them speak Japanese.

 

Online material

Urlaub

http://zentrum.homedns.org/imik/wolke3/wolke_content/kb/lektion12.php?uid=1

 

Tools
Japan resort
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Japan%20Resort/124/125/22

 

Activities
We teleported to Japan resort and walked to the beach and went into the water. There we discussed how far the sea is from their place at home and whether one can swim in the sea etc. Then we walked to the swimming pool and after learning all vocabulary such as swim ring, mattress, sun bathing oil etc we enjoyed a drink at the bar. We issued the drinks and the students requested various drinks.

 

SL Skills
How to put on a bikini, how to click on the balls for sitting positions such as sunbathing on the side of the pool or sitting inside a swim ring in the pool. It was also the first experience with going into water. How to click on a dance ball, accept a scripted dance, click on “wear” and then how to activate the dance by typing “on” and “off” in the text chat.

 

Plan versus teaching reality
Interestingly because of the bikini we noticed that Beatricita had a male body and I explained her how to change from male to female in the appearance menu.

 

Recording

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