Monday, 28 September 2009

Teaching and learning languages in virtual worlds

A new group has been set up by two leading language teachers’ associations, EUROCALL (Europe) and (CALICO (USA), to promote teaching and learning foreign languages (including English as a foreign language) in virtual worlds: the EUROCALL/CALICO Joint Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group (VW SIG).

It is clear that there is a growing interest in virtual worlds. There have been several presentations on virtual worlds in recent EUROCALL and CALICO conferences. Introductory workshops for newcomers to Second Life have also taken place at the annual conferences of both associations. In November 2007 EUROCALL began setting up a headquarters building on EduNation III Island, and in early 2009 CALICO established a presence on the land immediately next door. The two locations now form a significant joint environment linked by a teleport system. The joint Welcome pavilion is located at:

The SIG has also set up a ning, where its members and other interested parties can communicate, exchange information, announce events and initiate discussions:

Further information is available at the EUROCALL website:

Anyone may join the ning, but to take part in future events (e.g. workshops, seminars) organised by the SIG you need to be a member of EUROCALL or CALICO.

Graham Davies

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

EUROCALL 2009 - after the conference

EUROCALL 2009 in Spain was fantastic: perfect location, great food, super social events and excellent presentations. I ran a workshop on Second Life for newbies, assisted by my wife Sally, who acted as a fashion consultant to the ladies. We had 14 people in a state-of-the art lab equipped with computers with excellent graphics cards and big high-resolution display screens. The workshop ran without a hitch for three hours and then I gave a plenary presentation on a big screen to 50 local teachers, with a contribution from Randall Sadler speaking to us from the USA.

Randall Sadler (representing CALICO) and I (representing EUROCALL) have set up a joint Virtual Worlds Special Interest Group (VW SIG) for CALICO and EUROCALL members. 20 people were present at the launch meeting at EUROCALL 2009. I presented the EUROCALL HQ to the meeting and Randall was there "virtually" to give us a tour of the CALICO facilities next door, including his fabulous new castle holodeck. Further information on the new SIG will be announced at the EUROCALL website:

I also played a role running the Virtual Strand. We set up a blog (using Blogger) with embedded CoveritLive events managed by Penny Coutas. Penny was able to feed Twitter tweets and PowerPoint slides into CoveritLive, as well as typing a running commentary on selected presentations. You can replay the CoveritLive events via the blog at:
and our Twitter feeds are still live at @EuroCALLVirtual:

The plenaries were videorecorded and will be made available via a Web page (to be announced later). I particularly enjoyed the presentations by Steven Thorne and Gavin Dudeney, both of which focused on using games in language learning and teaching.

CoveritLive is really handy. We will certainly consider using it again for future conferences:

Graham Davies