A. AlKhayat

Prince Sultan University (SAUDI ARABIA)
Most of the EFL/ESL teachers search for traditional ways to motivate their students to learn English or even suffice with the textbook and other supplementary materials. They ignore the fact that their students are "digital natives" who live in the "digital world" and that they spend hours online either by playing interactive games or surfing the net for some information about things they prefer. Teachers ignore the fact that they can motivate their students by introducing them to what they like and not to what they should like.
Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present the experience of the researcher who used Storytelling Alice with her students to enhance their English Language Proficiency. Storytelling Alice is 3D programming software designed primarily for teaching secondary school students programming. The software includes "worlds" that refers to the setting of the story, imaginary characters, buildings, animals, and aliens. The children has to learn first how to select the world, how to choose the characters and most importantly how to make the characters move, speak, duck, run, dance, and turn. Speaking is one of the most important features in this presentation as it is one of the means of communication, and negotiation of meaning.
In this presentation, the researcher will show the participants how she taught speech acts by using storytelling Alice. Speech acts are statements that communicate a certain message to the listener such as making requests, asking questions, apologizing, agreeing and disagreeing and many other types. Speech acts are challenging for the non-native speakers of English due to L1 interference. That is to say, the influence of their language will hinder communication with either the hearer or speaker. Therefore, to motivate the students to learn Speech acts in an innovative way, the researchers encouraged them to make a project using one of the speech acts types that they have studied.
The students took 3D programming classes parallel to the grammar and conversation class .The researcher introduced the topic of agreeing and disagreeing and gave the students some guiding examples. Then the students were asked to use the Storytelling Alice program to produce dialogues or conversations between two characters that have to do with the theme of agreeing and disagreeing. The students had two choices to enable the characters to speak: they can either add conversation bubbles, or they can record their voices (similar to role play). The students were asked to choose the first option which is adding the conversation bubbles. The students participating in this program were secondary school students who enrolled for a summer school for the month of August. Then the students were instructed to work in pairs on creating a world in which there is a conversation between two characters. The theme should be agreeing and disagreeing. The students produce creative scenes with interesting conversations. Most of the students were influenced by the TV cartoons, or cyber games; however, they finally made a language project with something they feel interesting.