Thursday, 3 October 2013

Aesop’s Fables - Machinima to aid language learning

Just recently I have been working with Hazel Workman to  create  whole new set of machinima based on Aesop’s Fables. We both love second Life and it has become great fun to see how we can be portray the characters, as there are just two of us so some crowd scenes have had to be done with various chroma key techniques, these are Hazel’s speciality!  
Machinima is such a new form of video we have been trying to think of new ways to engage language learners with them to enhance language teaching.
See the ones created so far: - The Bear and the Two travellers – The Fox and the Woodcutter – The Milkmaid and her Pail – The Dog and his Shadow

So what can we do with these machinima in language classes?

First thoughts:
·        To start with there is lots of discussion in these stories, there is unfamiliar, maybe old fashioned language to be investigated.
·        The quality of English is poor, it is hard not to improve it whilst recording them – advanced students could work to improve the language of the tales.
·        Students could do their own retelling of the story. Project the machinima, without sound into the classroom and allow students to relate their version of the story to their peers.
·        As a longer project allow students to use the video footage and make a new soundtrack and thus produce a new machinima.
·        Students could do a complete re-write of the story set in current times with two people instead of two animals, act them out in class, and possibly make a video of the new story.
·        Investigate how some of the morals have become everyday idioms, this could lead to lots more work on idioms. Following are the morals and a few idioms that I consider possible offshoots or at least would make good discussion openers in brackets.
o   Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends. (A house divided against itself cannot stand.)
o   There is as much malice in a wink as in a word. (A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.)
o   Not everything you see is what it appears to be. (All that glitters is not gold or aA Leopard can't change his Spots. )
o   Do not count your chickens before they are hatched. (Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.)
o   Better one safe way than a hundred on which you cannot reckon. (Better to be safe than sorry.)
o   Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.)
o   We can easily represent things as we wish them to be.  (Sail under false colours, or, Something is not be what it is cracked up to be.)
o   Cunning often outwits itself.  (As cunning as a fox, or too clever by half, too clever for your own good.)

If you are able to use the machinima please share you experiences. To check on the rest, there are more in development, subscribe to my You Tube Channel: