Symposium moderation by Ed Russell and Nora Choperena

Edward Russell has experience as a teacher, teacher trainer, academic manager, conference speaker, assessor and published writer both in the UK and in a number of other countries including in Thailand, Palestine, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Singapore. Asides from teacher training, he is also very interested in the use of technology in language teaching. He contributed a chapter to the book Blended Learning in English Language Teaching: Course Design and Implementation and spoke about that case study at the VRT in 2011 from an internet cafe in Damascus! – (vivid memories! – comment by Heike*big smile*).}


Nora Choperena, Barranquilla/Colombia has more than 25 years experience teaching English to young and adult learners at different levels, especially beginners and intermediate. Gained some experience and knowledge teaching virtual courses to adult learners and training teachers of secondary public schools for a special program of the Ministry of Education. At the university, she has been involved in creating materials for ESP courses. As an MBA, she also has experience as an academic manager and conference speaker. She was awarded a scholarship, in the Activate E-Teacher Program of the US State Department for online teacher training. Now, she is an actively retired university professor who still teaches at elementary levels in a private university. Her main interests are blended-learning and the use of technology and experience in the teaching of EFL, especially for true beginners.

Symposium presenters

Dave Gatrell
The next level: Digital game-based learning and language development
Talk to any of your learners and, chances are, video games are an important part of their life outside the classroom. Understanding the games learners are into and integrating them into your teaching will not only help you find out what motivates your learners – it can also help add more imagination, curiosity and fun to your classes. What’s more, digital game based learning can develop the language and literacy skills learners need in the real world.

Games have intrinsic educational value. Just like good teaching, good video games promote communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving – as well as meaningful opportunities to practise English in an authentic context. However, much of the educational value of games also depends on how you integrate them and the tasks you design.

In this hands-on session, you’ll explore language- and skills-focused activities based on an online adventure game. You’ll also think about how to integrate a wide range of other game genres into your teaching.

Dave Gatrell is a teacher, teacher trainer and writer. He has taught English since 2001 in the Czech Republic, Spain and Hong Kong and has trained teachers in using technology in the classroom in Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan and Taiwan.

He is particularly interested in mobile and digital game-based learning and runs the website He co-wrote the British Council teacher development programme, Learning Technologies for the Classroom, and is responsible for managing, developing and writing other British Council online teacher training courses worldwide.

He lives in Hong Kong.

Email: david.gatrell[at]

Recording (35min):

David Dogdson
Digital Games & Learning by Design
Think ‚games‘ and we often think ‚fun‘; think ‚learning‘ and we often think ‚hard work‘. So, what should we think of game-based learning? Something that makes hard work fun? Or, as the presenter will argue, something that makes fun hard work?

Based on experience of using games like MinecraftUndertaleThe Long Dark and Can You Escape? with his young learners, David will explore how the rich context and personal investment offered by games can create powerful language learning moments.

However, these moments do not come about by accident. Successful commercial and indie games showcase strong design. Successful language learning tasks also require strong design. This talk will explore how language teachers can design tasks to maximise the learning affordances offered by great games.

David Dodgson, originally from the UK, works for the British Council in Bahrain as an ICT coordinator. He has also worked in Turkey and Gabon, gaining experience with young learners, adults, ESP and EAL classes. He has a keen interest in using digital games as authentic materials for language learning, and blogs about it at Email:

Recording (46min):


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