mercoledì 4 settembre 2019

'Escape EFL Classroom' workshop: Behind the scenes - Game-based learning and gamification (1)

A new school year is about to start here in Italy and I am ready with a new project. If you have been following this blog, you would know by now that I am really into games. Thus, my new workshop for secondary school students is a special Escape Room, which is a 60-minute real-life adventure game. When I played this game for the first time with a group of friends I immediately thought it was great for my students because
-  it involves the use of the four linguistic skills,
-  it promotes peer-learning, 
-  it entails different teaching methods and approaches which suit different types of students.
I have decided to write a series of blogposts about my new workshop which analyse the different parts of it. Today I will start with the reasons why I use games in my workshops for students and teachers. 

Why 'gamification'?

Kapp describes gamification as ‘the careful and considered application of game thinking to solving problems and encouraging learning using all the elements of games that are appropriate’ (Kapp, 2012, p.12). We can infer, thus, 'gamification' is an integration of game elements and game thinking in activities that are not games. In particular, games have some distinctive features which play a key role in gamification:
- users (students) are all participants,
- challenges/tasks that users perform and progress towards defined objectives ('levelling up' raises interesting questions for educators - not least the fact that players are allowed to tackle challenges and tests like exams as many times as necessary - and with no lasting consequences - in order to progress from one level to another),
- points that are accumulated as a result of executing tasks,
- levels which users pass depending on the point.

Why 'game-based' learning?
Unlike 'gamification', which adds game-inspired elements to your teaching practice (e.g. points), 'game-based' learning entails the use of games to meet learning outcomes. It is through the game that students learn. Moreover, playing games is intrinsically motivating because by and large it’s a voluntary activity. Games encourage independent inquiry and exploration; interests and passions can branch off from the individual game. Finally, a consensual and transparent adherence to a fictional setting or role allows players to experiment with skills and identities without suffering the consequences of failure in real life.

In my next post I'll be writing about what traditional Escape Rooms are. Stay tuned!

For further information about the 'Escape EFL Classroom'
workshop email me

Bye for now,

lunedì 26 agosto 2019

Generation Z and Social Networking Apps: Back to School and Instagram

Some time ago I started my DipTesol independent research about the use of social networking apps to engage learners in communicative tasks inside and outside the EFL classroom. Last spring I also set up a closed Facebook group to share activities which include the use of social networks to learn English as a foreign language. 

Social scientists who study young people have found that their digital use can be inventive and even beneficial. This is true not just in terms of their social lives, but their education too. In fact, thanks to the online world, young people can now publish ideas not just to their friends, but to the world. And by writing for strangers, their sense of “authentic audience” makes them work harder, push themselves further, and create powerful new communicative forms.

One of the apps which is most used by young people in Italy and in Europe is Instagram, which is a social networking service built around sharing photos and videos. (If you want to know more about it, check this article.

It is almost time to start your lessons again and I know you are more than excited to meet your new and old students! I am also sure that you are looking for an activity which is not the usual 'What did you do last summer?', though. This the reason why I am going to share with you the following Bingo game.


1. Distribute the cards and pens or pencils to each student.
2. Tell the players that they must interview each other. Have each player go around the group and ask other students questions.
3. When they find someone who replies positively to their question, they have to write down their name and then move on to another student for another question.
4. The student who first completes the grid with 9 different names, raises his/her hand and shouts, “Bingo!”
E.g. A: Did you use #summer and #beach?
B: Yes, I did.
A: Can you show me, please?
B: (Showing his/her Instagram account) Here you are.
A: (Writing down B's name) Thank you.

Download the template here. You will also find a blank template you can use to write down your own questions.

Have a wonderful back-to-school time!

Bye for now,

Ps: If you use this activity, let me know your feedback please!
If you are interested in learning how to use social networking apps in your English classes, email me