Avalon – Online interactive reader
Level: Advanced / Proficiency
Location: Computer room / homework
Language skill: Reading
The Game: Avalon is a text based role playing fantasy adventure game based on Dungeons and dragons, the stories of Tolkien and the Ancient Greek myths. You read the story and make choices in the fantasy world as they are made available to you (e.g. how to interact with in-game characters, what directions to go in, which quests to take). The choices you make will effect how the story unfolds and how your game character develops. An example of an Avalon screenshot is on the right here. You have the main body of text, a tool bar on the right and a blue window at the bottom to type in your choices/ instructions and interactions with the in game characters.
Ask your students to access Avalon home page outside of class time.
They will have to think of a fictional name for their character and a password to be able to save their progress and access their game elsewhere and at a later date.
Once your learners have created their characters you can use this game in a number of ways:
1 A quiet reading activity – Sometimes computer room activities can seem like too much work and too little quiet time. Use the computer room as an opportunity for learners to ‘play’ the game while having you on hand to answer any language queries.
2 A fast finishers activity. Sometimes learners may finish a computer room activity earlier than their class mates. Setting aAvalon as a reading task means that they do not disrupt the computer room activity for others and they are also getting reading skills practice.
3 Online dictionary work – the Avalon text contains a lot of examples of language used for dramatic effect. As a result a lot of vocabulary may be unfamiliar to your learners. Learners can read the text with the help of an online dictionary to help them reach a deeper understanding of the text.
4 Recording language – Learners can record useful language themselves making a note of the word(s), marking the stress, the word form (adjective, verb, noun etc), example sentences using the new word(s), and a definition in English.
5 Recorded language activities – Any language that has been recorded in the game can be used in classroom activities such as word formation (recording other forms of the recorded word(s) i.e. its verb form, noun form, adverb form etc)
6 Diary keeping/ report making – Learners can keep a diary or make reports (possibly posted on a class blog) of the choices, direction and progress they have made in the game. This is helpful if learners wish to exchange help, tips, advice and game observations.
7 Presentation – Learners can give class presentations on their in game progress using any game notes they have made. This can serve to help others, or gain help from others and makes the reading experience more interactive, interesting and integrated.
8 Periphery reading – There are a number of online sites that offer information about the game including a wiki which includes links to lists of in-game creatures, characters, places, potions etc, as well as other resources.