Teacher Spotlight: Metaverse for ELLs — Low Affective Learning at its Best
Written by Cammy Goucher, ESL Specialist, Neosho, Missouri @REMOTE_QUETZALCOATLUS
My first interaction with computers involved punching a card and then feeding it into a computer to make it rain lemonade. Technology has certainly evolved since that time. Today’s learners are functioning in an age where technology drives almost every aspect of their lives. When used properly, it can transform even the most boring lesson into one that is powerful and motivating. Knowing this, it is important that our students are given opportunities to develop their technological skills with the tools and programs available today.
For the last 17 of my 29 years as an educator, I have taught English as a Second Language (ESL). The goal of teaching ESL is to provide students with 21st-century skills in conjunction with language acquisition. Unfortunately, English language learners (ELLs) often struggle with maintaining a low affective filter while learning these skills. I have found that game-based learning increases student motivation, lowers anxiety, and allows students at all grade levels to feel safer when trying something new.
In the past, I have tried coding activities that allowed students to make their own simple games, as well as various game-based platforms and several augmented reality (AR) apps. This year, I discovered Metaverse, which has taken AR to a whole new level. I have easily created several experiences for my students both to introduce concepts and themes, and to review and assess learning. The platform is so user-friendly that my students have also created their own experiences with minimal assistance.
Metaverse has options that play right into the needs of ELLs. First of all, Metaverse is a great way for students to practice English and have fun while doing so. Second, ELLs benefit from experiential learning, vocabulary presented in context, and visual clues that aid understanding. Metaverse experiences can provide a rich, contextual environment through both regular and 360-degree videos, which can make the experiences resemble a field trip–sans the cost of transportation. Third, students can practice much-needed spelling, grammar, and other English skills by using the text input scenes and when creating their own experiences. The experiences allow students to become active learners in a one-on-one environment and incorporate various learning strategies with immediate feedback. They also help to increase the interest level for older students while keeping the text simple and easy to read.
Another positive of Metaverse is its mobility. Providing students with the options presented above isn’t enough if they only have access to them during the short block of time they are in an ESL classroom. In addition, ESL instruction is rarely confined to a single textbook Language learners need access to a variety of comprehensible materials. Through Metaverse, teachers can incorporate diverse tools into their lessons that may be accessed anywhere at anytime.
To help my students with the process of creating their own experiences, I created a paper flowchart with experience and block cards that can be written on and manipulated before being entered online. The flowchart has also allowed students to collaborate and continue working when computers were not available. I have shared this process at a recent EdCamp in our district and in during building level Professional Development. (I’ll link my presentation below.) I encourage all educators to try Metaverse for themselves and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Experience flowchart from my Smile Hunt:
See my planning presentation HERE.
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