Teacher, graphic designer and writer Paul Driver answers The Image Conference questionnaire.
Your favourite film/work of art/video game:
My favourite film is Memento. It’s a very game-like film in many ways as the disjointed sequencing of scenes challenges the viewer to actively contend with a writhing plot. As an artist myself I find Lucian Freud’s work truly inspiring but I also love sculpture, architecture and many other forms of expression. Game-wise it’s whatever I’m currently playing. At the moment I’m still enveloped in the multiplayer world of The Last of Us and several indie games. I’m particularly interested in developments with the Oculus Rift and advancements in procedural generation.
Your favourite video to use in class:
I’m currently more interested in making videos than using pre-existing clips so I’d have to say my favourite videos are the ones created and edited by my students using tools like green screens, 3D computer animation and motion backgrounds.
Useful image-related teaching tool:
This is a tough one. There are so many useful digital tools I use on a daily basis such as Adobe Premiere, iMovie, Final Cut and about two dozen mobile video and image editing apps. One of the handiest tangible tools I always carry with me is my “gorilla pod” — a flexible tripod that I can attach to virtually any of the classroom fixtures and furniture for stable filming.
Why are you interested in using images in your classes?
While their bodies may be trapped, images can teleport the minds of learners beyond the confines of the classroom. They are portals to worlds of ideas and experiences that push and pull students to think differently and empathise with others. Understanding and then creating images can also be a highly reflective and communicative process.
What should your audience expect to learn?
There has been a lot of interest in applying digital games and the mechanics and dynamics they employ to ELT. Sadly though, in my view, many language teachers and game publishers have only explored the low-hanging fruit when it comes to the learning design that good games model. I think one of the main things I would like people to leave with is an increased awareness of the rich palette of affordances games can provide language teachers and learners.
What are three words that sum up your session?
Space, play, design.
Which other presenter(s) are you looking forward to seeing?
Every abstract looks interesting and I’m going to try to see as many talks as I can. I’ll definitely try to catch Daniel Barber’s talk. I haven’t seen him speak before and neuroscience is one of my favourite subjects, especially in light of its potential to inform (and misinform) ELT.
You can find out more about Paul and his session below.
Paul Driver (British Study Centres)
Paul is an Oxford-based British Study Centres teacher, teacher trainer, researcher, graphic designer and illustrator. He is the co-author of Language Learning with Digital Video, with Ben Goldstein, for the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series, and also writes ELT, digital games and edTech-related articles for the Cambridge English Teacher website and academic journals such as the International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching. He is a regular speaker at national and international ELT events, including IATEFL, The Image Conference and Digital ELT Ireland. He also designs the British Council’s digital magazine In English Digital. Last year and this year he was nominated for an ELTon (English Language Teaching Innovation Award) in the category of Digital Innovation.
Fictional Topographies and the Spatialisation of Narrative
Game spaces are meticulously designed environments. The tennis court, the football pitch and the sumo wrestler’s dohyo are spatially and visually organised to embody the rules that inform the interactions taking place within their boundaries. Virtual spaces are sculpted with even more painstaking care, as the digital architect can distort, subvert or completely rewrite the laws of physics and define the capabilities of the players and characters that inhabit these fictional worlds. In this talk, I will discuss how game design can inform ELT pedagogy by examining what games do well.