August 5, 2016
by Larry Ferlazzo
As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of both having students create and read (or, in the case of videos, watch-and-play) choose your own adventure stories (see The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories). Many students find them very engaging to read, they can be quite accessible, and even low-Intermediate ELLs can create simple ones.
I’ve been a fan of them for quite awhile, and thought I was aware of all their different permutations.
Once again, however, I was wrong.
You might be aware of Amazon’s popular home voice assistant called Echo, which uses the Alexa voice software. I don’t have it, but do have the Amazon Fire TV plugin, which I like a lot (I used to be a fan of Google Chromecast, but now favor Fire).
Apparently, a few months ago, they created a listening choose-your-own-adventure game connected to the terrible Batman vs. Superman movie. In it, Alexa describes physical surrounds, provides choices, and assists players in making them. The game received a much better critical reception than the film.
Today, Amazon released software to developers so that they could more easily create these kinds of games.
So, one, this means that there will be many more of these kinds of professionally-produced “listening-and-speaking” choose your own adventure games, which would seem to me to offer exceptionally engaging opportunities for English Language Learners to practice listening and speaking. All we’d have to do is bring an Amazon Fire TV plugin to the classroom.
But, more importantly, I think, is the idea of a listening & speaking Choose Your Own Adventure story!
Teacher can create simple or more complex ones by just writing them out and saying it like this (it’s a sample from Amazon’s software instructions):
On top of that, English Language Learner can also create their own. It would seem to me that these versions would need to be more simple than ones that are typically written so that players don’t have to remember as much, which should make them even easier for ELLs.
I have plenty of templates like this one at my previously-mentioned “Best” list.
Do you think this kind of thing could have as much potential as I do?