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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes: Fluency training via bomb defusal
“Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes” is a hybrid digital-analog cooperative game in which teams race a countdown timer to defuse bombs. The team is split such that a single player, called the defuser, uses a computer to manipulate a simulated bomb only they are allowed to see, while the remaining team members, the “experts,” parse convoluted defusal instructions found in a paper manual and relay the information back to the defuser, all under intense time and accuracy pressure. The design of the game makes it a natural information-gap activity that demands both reading and communicative fluency.
The presenter used Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes in five second-year reading skills classes for science and technology students as part of a study on student perceptions of game-based language learning. Students were assigned to read a graded version of the bomb defusal manual in preparation for classwork, were given two short quizzes on the reading, and played the game in teams in two successive 90 minute classes. In the third class a questionnaire was administered.
This session will begin with a very brief introduction to Game-Based Language Learning and explain the impetus behind the activity, followed by a description of the game and associated materials. The session will wrap up with a brief presentation of the study’s findings, suggestions for using games like “Keep Talking” in the classroom, and participant questions.