I. INT. DANK CLASSROOM. CLEMSON UNIVERSITY. DAY.
A female teacher stands at an old-fashioned green chalkboard, her back facing the class, as she writes a Spanish sentence on the board (“Yo….voy…a….la…tienda…”). The camera is at a wide angle, to reveal context of the classroom. Three students are sitting in desks dispersed across the room. Slow, old-fashioned music (akin to “waaaa waaaa waaaa”) introduces the scene. The students’ shoulders are slumped over, and you can tell by their body language that they seem unenthused to be sitting in this classroom. Teacher turns to the students: TEACHER: Now, class, repeat after me…Yo…voy…a…la…tienda… (very slooowwwly) STUDENTS : Yo…voy…a…la…tienda…..(slowly and lethargically) II. INT. DANK CLASSROOM. CLEMSON UNIVERSITY. DAY. Camera is now positioned close to a male student’s face (Glen?) STUDENT 1: …yo….voy…. (with arms still slumped and an annoyed expression on his face) III. INT. DANK CLASSROOM. CLEMSON UNIVERSITY. DAY. Camera is positioned close to a female student’s face (Amanda?). STUDENT 2: ….a la…. (with arms still slumped and an annoyed expression on her face) IV. INT. DANK CLASSROOM. CLEMSON UNIVERSITY. DAY. Camera is now positioned close to the final student’s face (Shirley/Heather??). With a glazed over expression, he/she slowly finishes the sentence: STUDENT 3: …tienda… Then she/he sighs heavily, obviously annoyed that she/he’s having to repeat the sentence. V. INT. DANK CLASSROOM. CLEMSON UNIVERSITY. DAY. All three students sitting in a row, in desks, looking forward, in the same classroom, teacher behind them. All look bummed/miserable. 1
In unison, they all speak: ALL 3 STUDENTS: Yo…voy…a…la…tienda… (arms slumped over, lethargically) VOICEOVER: Traditional foreign language drills getting you down? Why not try something different? Camera fades out and transitions to next scene… VI. INT. BEDROOM. DAY. Same male student from before is sitting at a home computer desk, signed onto Second Life. Camera zooms in to his computer screen to reveal that his male avatar is walking toward a clothing store in SL. Camera angle cuts just to computer screen (move from live action to machinima). As the student’s male avatar approaches the store entrance, he notices a beautiful avatar beside him who quickly grabs his attention. His male avatar approaches the female avatar tentatively. As he approaches, she turns and begins typing… FEMALE AVATAR (text on screen): ¿Adónde vas? MALE STUDENT (voiceover in RL): Uhh…crap… “Adónde vas?” I think that means “Where are you going?” Crap, how do I tell her where I’m going! FEMALE AVATAR (text on screen): ¿Adónde vas? ¿Vas a la tienda…? MALE STUDENT (voiceover in RL): A-ha!! She’s asking if I’m going to the store! Let’s see if I remember how to say this… Male student begins typing back to the beautiful female avatar. MALE AVATAR (text on screen): Si, yo voy a la tienda! VII. INT. BEDROOM. DAY. Film transitions back to real life from machinima to reveal the male student sitting at his desk once again. VOICEOVER: Second language acquisition is not something that can simply be 2
drilled into a student’s head. It requires a real-world context. As demonstrated in the previous scene, effective use of a second language occurs only when motivation is involved. Whether that motivation comes in the form of a pretty girl in a virtual world who speaks another language or from the need to order a bus ticket in Barcelona doesn’t matter; it has to be there. One way to motivate students is to use virtual tandem learning…a process whereby students pair up with language partners from around the world who speak their target language. In this process, students suddenly become responsible for their own learning because if they wish to receive help in their target language, they must help their partner as well. Film now moves to still images. VOICEOVER: My study builds on previous research related to tandem learning in virtual environments by focusing specifically on two new platforms: First, it looks at Second Life, a free 3-D virtual world where users are free to create, build, and interact. Images/screencaps of Second Life play across the screen. VOICEOVER: and LiveMocha, a two-dimensional social networking site where students can complete language exercises online with a language partner and receive constructive feedback. Images of LiveMocha play across the screen. VOICEOVER: The findings from this research will hopefully demonstrate the potential of both 2-D and 3-D virtual environments in promoting second language acquisition, broadening the educational resources available to foreign language instructors and students.