ACTFL is a convention where language educators from all over the world get together to share and discuss the most recent research and trends in foreign/second language teaching. My experience of the convention last year was that is was focused on the “business” of teaching. This year the conference focused more on the processes of teaching: there were more academic papers related to many issues in language teaching. The main topic of the panel I was part of was “Gaming and Teaching”. My paper was on how to design a game and what the recipe is for creating a pedagogically successful game. The games cited in my paper are applications focusing on vocabulary and grammar in Arabic for the Arabic as a foreign language classroom.
One of the other two papers reported on teaching French through designing an online game. The students were assigned to create a game that takes the player back in time to see France in the 1800s. The interaction between the students and the research they do to design the game is what creates the learning environment. The third paper was a review of the literature on the theory and concept of gaming.
The convention in general was fruitful with the other sessions that were related to teaching Arabic and foreign/second language teaching. Also, the book exhibition was full of publications and activities that made the convention very vivid and more academic.