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EVO Session Immersive Language Learning in Virtual Worlds

Page history last edited by Heike Philp 3 years, 7 months ago

Immersive Language Learning

in Virtual Worlds


Archived session which took place Jan-Feb 2020


11 January 2020 - 16 February 2020 



To learn a language live online is the best and sometimes cheapest way of practicing it in real-time with other people. Virtual worlds and video games offer opportunities to meet speakers of other languages and native speakers alike but there are many 3D spaces out there and sometimes it is difficult to decide which one to join. 


Which virtual world is suitable for language education? What kind of equipment or software do you need? How long does it take to get to know this world before we introduce this to our students? Is this virtual space safe for our learners?





We want to introduce to you a number of virtual worlds and invite you to immerse yourself. For everyone we offer recorded Zoom videoconferencing sessions where language educators can watch others sharing their screens. 




By the end of this session you should:


  • Have a good overview of what kind of virtual worlds exist

  • Be able to decide a suitable virtual environment for your learners

  • Consider activities which can be done in these 3D environments 





Participants are asked to compare the various virtual worlds for language learning. There will be a chart which helps to evaluate and you are asked to create a Google Slides booklet with screenshots (or any other portfolio tool of your choice) and short descriptions of each world. Please list the affordances, advantages, disadvantages, possible target groups of each environment.


Evaluation tool

Virtual worlds assessment rubric can be found here



Portfolio tools 



Target audience


This session is aimed at experienced language educators, language course designers, and webheads.  Those without experience in entering and navigating virtual worlds will be able to join the sessions in Zoom and should at the end of the EVO session be able to decide which environments warrants additional time. 


Live online sessions are every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm UK time. All of the sessions will be recorded.   




Week 1

12-19 January 2020

Moderator: Heike Philp 


Live sessions:

Kick-off Sunday 12 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording)

Live Session 1.1:  Tuesday, 14 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST   (Recording) Showcasing Immerse Online with Lukas Macenauer and VR Chat with Heike Philp

Live Session 1.2:  Thursday, 16 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST  (Recording) Showcasing Active Worlds with Gord Holden and SineSpace with Paul Allington

Live Session 1.3:  Sunday, 19 January 2020 at 8pm GMT / 12pm PST (Recording) Showcasing VirBELA with Stella Berdaxagar, the app Friendbase, Play2Speak, Altspace





For more information about various virtual spaces click HERE

Week 2

20 January - 26 January 2020


Moderators: Annalisa di Pierro, Helena Galani, Alicja Bomirska


Live sessions:

Live Session 2.1:  Tuesday, 21 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST  (Recording) OpenSim: Annalisa showcases Edmondo - For a list of presentations click HERE

Live Session 2.2:  Thursday, 23 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST  (Recording)  OpenSim: Helena showcases ELT Treasure Island in Kitely, Alicja shows us GUINEVERE island and Annalisa her clever Escape Room game in Craft World 

Live Session 2.3:  Sunday, 26 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST  (Recording) OpenSim: Barbara McQueen showcases SLESL in Kitely, Jennifer shows us her Virtual Campus in Kitely 


For more info about OpenSim click HERE


Week 3

27 January - 02 February 2020


Live sessions:

Live Session 3.1:  Tuesday, 28 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording) Dogme garden informal meeting with Dennis

Live Session 3.2:  Thursday, 30 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST  (Recording) Randall showcases holodecks on EduNation and takes us to Virtlantis, 

and Helena shows her SL house, selective holodeck scenes, in-world books and modifiable bots for NPCs that are used in the environment of Second Life.

 Live Session 3.3:  Sunday, 2 January 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording) SPECIAL Barbara McQueen showcases Edutopia 2 


Moderators: Shelwyn Corrigan, Laura Jeffcoat, Helena Galani, Karelia Kondor and Dr. Randall Sadler


Second Life - EduNation/ Virtlantis, Dogme garden with Dennis Newson aka Osnacantab


Week 4

03 February  - 09 February 2020 


Live sessions:

Live Session 4.1:  CoSpaces Tuesday, 04 February 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording) Iain Cook-Bonney from Tahuna Intermediate School in NewZealand showcased CoSpaces, an app/ desktop solution which allows users to collaborate during creation of 3D environments. 

Live Session 4.2:  World of Warcraft: Thursday, 06 February 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording - beginning was edited due to tech issues!) with Dr. Cynthia Calongne. An amazing presentation clearly showing how game play aids learning anything from communication to digital skills. 

Live Session 4.3: Minecraft: (Recording) Sunday, 09 February 2020 at 8pm GMT/ 12pm PST with Carol. 


Moderators: Heike Philp


CoSpaces - Iain Cook-Bonney from Tahuna Intermediate School in NewZealand

Minecraft Dakotah and Carol to tour (GUINEVERE, Hindervall) MinecraftMOOC


World of Warcraft  - Lyr Lobo (Dr. Cynthia Calogne)





Week 5

10 February  - 16 February 2020 


Live sessions:

Live Session 5.1:  Tuesday, 11 February 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording) Open discussion with some of the participants and a most beautiful peace of summary by Stella: https://www.zeetings.com/SMBerdaxagar/0008-9357-0016 - heartwarming!

Live Session 5.2:  Thursday, 13 February 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording) Open discussion looking at the evaluation sheet and talking about Best Practice.

FINALE  Sunday, February 16 February 2020 at 8 pm GMT/ 12 pm PST (Recording) GRANDE FINALE


Voting tool:  



Here are two impressive portfolios created by Cristiana and Stella

Cristiana Pivetta



Stella Maris Berdaxagar 



Moderator: Jennifer Hamilton 

Choosing a Virtual World that Supports Student Learning Objectives

In our final week we will synthesize and apply what we have learned in the course, brainstorming with each other how the virtual spaces we have visited could be used to best serve each of our specific student populations and instruction needs.


Each participant will be asked to submit their their top 5 favorite worlds/virtual environments covered in the course via an online poll before Week 5.  We will begin by reviewing the compiled results of this poll and discuss the variety of different learning tools and interfaces available in virtual worlds in general and specifically in the worlds and games discussed in the first four weeks of this course. 


Then, in a brief presentation, each participant will share a brief presentation about which virtual world they would choose to use first with their students, how and why.  Not available for our synchronous sessions?  Asynchronous posting of a screencast or other form of you presentation by Monday, 10 Feb., will meet the requirement and allow everyone to share lessons learned, best practices, and creative ideas.  Which world you choose may depend on

  • learning objectives 
  • interests
  • available technology 
  • student age
  • classroom mode (synchronous/asynchronous, in person/online/mixed) 
  • available class time 

and other factors that influence choice of the best virtual world for different educational circumstances and goals.  Here is the rubric you were provided at the the beginning of the course and will have been updating as we explore different virtual learning environments will be very useful, and provide an additional source of discussion.


Our primary goal in Week 5 is to share ideas on how educators can use virtual worlds for language teaching and learning and while we further develop personal goals and the first step of an action plan to pilot or explore virtual world use in the classroom.


One of the contributions by Dung was, that they are working on creating interactive parser-based games. 

The visuals of virtual worlds are very suitable for stories, as seen in this machinima created by one of Cristiana's students: https://youtu.be/Ox6wM8zf_YU


And here is an app which was developed in the GUINEVERE project, the Gistory app. 

https://apps.apple.com/tr/app/gistory/id1498287693?l=tr  (for iOS)


https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gistory  (for Android)


The (almost) final Evaluation Sheet




Discord Server vLanguages






Name (last, first)

Biodata (not more than 50 words)

Dr. Randall Sadler



Randall Sadler [aka Randall Renoir] is Associate professor at  Illinois University, head of the Virtual Worlds SIG of CALICO. He is a TESOL member and co-owner of EduNation islands in Second Life. Book author of ‘Virtual Worlds for Language Learning: From Theory to Practice (Telecollaboration in Education)’, Randall Sadler, published by Peter Lang AG, Switzerland, Dressman, M., & Sadler, R. (Eds). (2020). The Handbook of Informal Language Learning. Malden, MA.: Wiley-Blackwell, Nurmukhamedov, U. & Sadler, R. (Eds.) (2020). New Ways in Teaching with Games. Alexandria, VA: TESOL. Press

Heike Philp 



Heike Philp [Gwen Gwasi] is CEO of let's talk online sprl, a technology support provider for language learning and events in real-time. She is co-initiator of EU funded LANCELOT (virtual classroom) and AVALON (virtual world) and the CAMELOT project (machinima for language teachers). She is founder of the Virtual Round Table Conference and co-owns EduNation in Second Life. 

Dennis Newson



Dennis Newson [Osnacantab Nesterov] M.A. (Cantab), P.D.E.S.L (Leeds), taught EFL in Africa, Arabia, Norway, and Germany in middle schools, secondary schools, teacher training colleges, a technical university, and an arts university. He was consultant for short periods in Bosnia and Kosovo, and conferences have taken him to Poland, Hungary, Las Palmas, Russia, and England. He has developed his interest in SL since his alleged retirement.   In Second Life he is known as Osnacantab Nesterov.  

Shelwyn Corrigan



Shelwyn Corrigan [Wynshel Heir] has a Master's in Linguistics, a Master's in Digital Media & Learning, and certification in Multimedia Studies. She has worked in digital design since 1994. In addition, she has taught ESL and EFL in Europe and South America and at universities in California and New York. She is a media consultant and web designer and teaches graduate courses at the University of San Francisco (USF) since 2001. She runs her own language school LearnIT Town in Second Life.

  Laura Jeffcoat

Helena Galani



Helena Galani [ErlinaAzure in SL] holds an RSA Diploma, M.A. ELT (Applied Linguistics), and certification in teacher training and advanced ICT skills.

As qualified ELT (adult) educator and tutor, Helena has been blending and flipping her classes in Virtual Worlds. She has also taught EFL and trained teachers for INDIRE on edMondo. As moderator during EVO ViLLAGE, Helena presented on the usefulness of designing games and Interactive Scenarios in ELT through Virtual Worlds.  As EduNation resident and CAMELOT Award winner in 2015, Helena supports the educational value of VWs environments through learner and teacher machinima. At conventions, she highlights different aspects on the value of 3D VWs and machinima in language teaching.



Alicja Bomirska 





Alicja Bomirska,M.A. Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, has been a teacher of English for nearly 30 years. She has successfully completed numerous TEFL courses, many of them on ICT and VR Immersive Language Learning. She has been invoved in many projects and currently is cooperating with an Italian school on an E-twinning project where the use of the virtual environment is essential.


Jennifer Hamilton [Jaz Beverly] has a Masters in Library in Information Science and is Head of Instruction and an Assistant Professor at the Dupré Library, University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  Jen first became active in virtual worlds in 2008 in graduate school, when she interned in Second Life at the still active nine-branch public library system in Caledon.  She was a teacher-trainee in the GUINEVERE project, and has just launched a pilot virtual world for library education in Kitely.

Annalisa Di Pierro                                




Annalisa Di Pierro is a teacher of English Language at a Technical High School in Pisa, Italy, Erasmus project coordinator, eTwinning ambassadress,coordinator of the eTwinning group: “Methodologies and Digital Tools”,expert and teachers trainer in ICT and digital tools that she uses in teaching and learning, to improve the quality of students participation by offering more stimulating ways of supporting learning, according to the 21stcentury competencies. She is very interested in the use of virtual environments (Edmondo-Craft-Guinevere-Second Life) and modelling in 3D (Blender) for educational goals.

I understand that session moderators are required to participate in the 5-week Moderators' Development Session from October 13 until November 10, 2019. The EVO session will be offered between January 11 and February 16, 2019.
  I understand that EVO sessions are free of advertising and no commercial sponsorship is allowed. Finally, I understand that EVO sessions are free and open to all, and that no academic credit may be given for participation.


I agree, Heike Philp

I agree, Alicja Bomirska

I agree, Dennis Newson

I agree, Helena Galani

I agree, Annalisa Di Pierro

I agree, Jennifer Hamilton



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