Christmas came early. Late last week the US Embassy in Lima received a box full of DVDs with 4G worth of a new language learning (to be read “practicing”) game. I hear that our Ecuadoran and Colombian Embassies also received boxes. No doubt those in Venezuela and Bolivia are days away from getting theirs.
So why should an English teacher in the Andean region get excited? First off, you do not need to wait for the DVD to play. You can play online. Just go to American English’s handsome new site and look for “Trace Effects Game” in the top right (see screenshot). I needed to download the Unity Web Player, which took a few seconds, and register, and was then able to begin playing. I joined 162 other registered players (since it keeps score, and I had not begun playing, I was in 162nd on the leader board).
But there’s much more to celebrate. For students, this is finally a game with engaging content AND can be used for low learners. We piloted the game at ICPNA Lima and ICPNA Cusco back in June and found students of all levels could readily navigate Trace through his various adventures with only a jump start. Another exciting aspect of the online version is that they can click on “multiplayer challenge” and compete in four different word-building games with other players around the world.
For teachers, the game has lots of extras. Look for the “Helpful Links” tab and click on the“Trace Effects Adventure Ning.”After a painless registration, you have access to a Forum where you can discuss how best to use TA with your students. Soon, you will also be able to watch the ‘how to’ webinars on TA if you miss the live version. You can find a calendar at the ‘webinar information’ tab. But perhaps most helpful is the ‘Trace Teacher Resources’ tab, with downloadable worksheets and a behemoth teachers’ manual.
In the Andean region we will be rolling out the DVD version over the next three months. Priorities include Access sites, Bi-National Centers (under Z-A extras, click on ‘BNCs’), universities with pre-service programs, alumni of E-Teacher courses, and, eventually, all public schools with computers that students can access. If you are interested in helping with the roll-out, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.