If preparing for the IELTS with self-study materials worked, more people would get the score they need!
Gaming the IELTS is a mobile app-based curricula or ‘serious playground’ licensed to schools and learning centres. It combines self-study with teacher-led activities, paired exercises, solo and team assignments for speaking, writing and vocabulary-building, skill-refining projects, videos, quizzes with individualized feedback, open book essays, group contests, and tests. Student ‘Job Aids’ and Teacher Guides are provided but how it is used is up to the teacher; the release sequence to students is controllable.
Card games make the construction of cumulative and complex sentences fun.
They appeal to the pattern-learning part of the brain that we use to learn language so effectively in our early years. Make Sense! co-operative and competitive games allow for the application of grammar rules and challenges by the ‘competition’, in small groups supervised by a teacher-resource. The six games of ascending difficulty can also be used in teacher-led formats for ‘opportunistic instruction’ in punctuation, emphasis and pronunciation.
Gaming the IELTS covers 100 allowable IELTS topics within 11 theme units and may be used in conjunction with IELTS texts that cover Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing. The 280 hours may be used over an entire school year or organized into Intermediate and Advanced pathways covering a 4 week or 10 week intensive respectively.
The Foundation section of each unit focuses on vocabulary. The Core Speaking Skills and Core Writing Skills sections follow that, with apps that develop ‘high value’ IELTS skills for language production, using the vocabulary for that theme. The skills built by app use are understanding the nature of the question, paraphrasing, sentence variety, verb tense variety, story coherence, essay structure, and working under time pressure: basically practice, practice, practice, with targeted feedback. Finally a series of tests concludes the unit.
Ten strategy lessons should be covered within the first 40 hours, but any of the first 10 units may be used as a starting place, therefore the program can accept continuous enrollment.
The Grammar Gym provides pre-tests on 16 topics, and allows the teacher to incorporate remedial lessons for the entire class based on the results, or to give a ‘prescription’ for quiz workouts to each student specifically designed to address individual weaknesses.
The lessons deflate some IELTS myths, introduce the cognitive science underlying our approaches, and outline the ‘back story’ to each app’s focus, explaining what our former IELTS examiner and game designer has found useful for improving candidates’ scores.
These include attitude to the test, optimal behaviors for Speaking and Writing tests, the rationale behind each skill objective, the unpacking of IELTS bandwidths, and why certain choices about how to spend their energy in the IELTS exam are better than others.
A picture of current achievement, progress and goals is essential to the self-directed learner.
Our system provides a frequently updated student scorecard. The scorecard consolidates automated scores from games with feeds from peer-paired challenges and debate boards, and teacher-evaluated manual entries on assignments such as presentations and essays. Students are encouraged to achieve mastery at 85% or better in each skill or knowledge set.
Gaming the IELTS apps connect learner to feedback, learner to teacher, and learner to learner.
Initially a unit provides low stress practice in ‘high value’ skill sets using the target language for that theme unit, and eventually introduces real test conditions and pressures with timed completion windows and open, competitive conditions. Contests such as Face Off and Question Bee are designed to gradually promote comfort with spontaneous responses to Speaking questions.