Report from the Field: Virtual Vienna

Robert updates us on the Vienna project:
Hi Ben,
Earlier this year I mentioned what I wanted to do this year in my German 3-4-AP class with the virtual move project and that, if it worked, it would become part of a how-to book. Well, it looks like I’m on the way with that. I think this is one way that The Realm can take shape; even if it does not unfold in all of its glory, the new format is definitely working better for me than what I was doing before. Here’s what we’ve done so far:
1. Introduction to the Virtual Move and generation of characters: I’ve done something similar to how D and D players generate a character, though without non-human races or varied character classes.
2. Discussion of what they need and want to take on a year-long trip to Vienna. Story: “I forgot”, based on Anne Matava’s “I should have done it myself”
3. PowerPoint introduction to the city of Vienna; students make preliminary decisions about places they want to visit
4. Assignment: find the cost of round trip airfare to Vienna and the price of housing in the district where student will live (determined as part of character generation); I provided suggested websites for students so that they did not have to search randomly
5. Passports: students create passports for themselves (I have templates and take pictures to go in the passports)
6. Passing through Customs. Story: Jim Tripp’s “Passing through Customs”. Event: Students line up and go through customs. I play the role of the customs agent and carry on a short conversation with them about what they are doing, why the are visiting, how long they will stay, etc. It is unrehearsed “role playing” but follows the story, so they know the needed vocabulary, and this prepares them for the real thing. One student even tried to smuggle something not permitted into the country. It was lots of fun.
7. PowerPoint presentation on food in Vienna, introducing students to Sacher Torte, Heurige, Wiener Schnitzel, cafes, etc. Students will later be responsible for finding a restaurant where they can celebrate something.
8. Arriving in Vienna. Story: an adaptation of Anne Matava’s “My Parents Embarrass Me” with students rather than parents as they take the train from the airport to the city center. PowerPoint presentation on the Vienna transportation system. Students will need to know how to get around town and how to purchase tickets. We may play a scenario with students who either don’t buy a ticket or fail to validate their ticket.
This is as far as we have gotten so far, but students are enjoying the class, and stories move faster than in the beginning levels. We are able to go further afield without going out of bounds. I will keep you informed as the semester progresses, but I’m glad I reorganized the class.
One of the assessments will be for students to tell about their time in Vienna and include stories of things that happened. Contrary to what I have often done in the past, using the stories throughout the semester gives students the material they need to do this; in some ways their “reports” will simply be re-tells of the stories we have done in class, and they get to pick and choose which ones.



2 thoughts on “Report from the Field: Virtual Vienna”

  1. Amazing!!!! Can’t wait for the updates on your trip. Also, please put me on the waiting list for your book – I want to be the first in line!!!

  2. Would love to buy your book as well! Thanks for translating Brandon Brown. We need to get more CI German materials out there. Julie in Mn.

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