Bradley Irwin earned his M. Ed. in Second Language Education from OISE at the University of Toronto. At present, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Liberal Arts at Nihon University. His research interests include language learner identity, autonomous learning, CALL, and MALL.
The ability to produce written English is an essential skill that plays a vital role in the learning process for second language learners. Unfortunately, this skill is often inadequately adressed in Japanese high schools and students arrive at university without the basic skills necessary to create even basic paragraphs in English. Students find this lack of skill frustrating and their motivation to learn this fundamental skill is often adversely affected. This presentation will detail findings from a case study that explored the effects of having students participate in a creative writing project aimed at increasing motivation and task engagement. Forty-eight A2-B1 (CEFR level) EFL learners participated in a collaborative project-based language learning task designed to improve basic writing skills. Working in groups of 4, students created short gamebooks (approx. 1000-1500 words) in the Choose Your Own Adventure style. Google Slides was chosen as the medium to present these stories because of the program’s synchronous collaboration capabilities and its ability to link slides within a presentation. The findings showed that students could create interesting and entertaining gamebooks that met many of the language learning targets of their English course. Survey results revealed that students found the activity enjoyable and that their motivation to write in English also increased. This presentation will serve as a guide for educators who are interested in creating collaborative gamebooks using digital presentation programs such as Google Slides.