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Mastermind & Teacher
Kotoba Miners started as a research project for the head teacher: me, James York.
I am currently studying for an EdD in Education with the University of Leicester (link) where my research is about online learning and particularly the appropriation of virtual worlds as language learning domains.
When not working on this project, I teach English full-time at Tokyo Denki University as an assistant professor. A part of my job is to teach a weekly seminar class involving this project. I teach English to my Japanese students using the server, so you will have the opportunity to interact once a week (if not more) with these students in game.
More About Me
Married, two kids, home-owner, and permanent resident of Japan.
- Year born: 1983
- Time in Japan: Since 2005
- JLPT Level: 1
- Hobbies: Make music as Cheapshot, organise Japan’s biggest chiptune event: Square Sounds Tokyo, and play taiko in a local group with my family.
Personal anecdote on experiential learning
When I first came to Japan, and still knew little of the language I was left in charge of a friends 3 year old daughter for a few minutes. She was playing with her dolls speaking all sorts of stuff that I had no idea about. I nodded and played along, trying to bluff my way through the encounter until she turned to me, handed me a large handkerchief and said ‘tsutsunde!’ Oh boy, was I in trouble. I had no idea what this was.
She repeated it: “Tsutsunde!!”
This time taking the handkerchief from me and wrapping it loosely around her dolly. I got it! She wanted me to wrap the dolly up in with the handkerchief like a blanket. Completing this action she seemed satisfied and I came away with a new word.
Upon consulting my dictionary and other resources afterwards, I learned three new things.
- The verb “to wrap” 包む/つつむ/tsutsumu
- The TE-form conjugation of verbs,
- How the TE-form alone can be used to express an informal request.
DoB: March 12 1983 (35)
Tokyo Denki University (Tokyo, Japan)
College of Science and Engineering
Lecturer (A), Division of Liberal Arts, Natural, Social and Health
Email (work): [email protected]
Email (personal): [email protected]
Home phone: (+81) 0297 28 1083
Mobile: (+81) 080 4073 5032
Address: Honcho 907-4, Moriya, Ibaraki, 302-0109, Japan
2013 – University of Leicester — PhD. Education
Language learning in complex virtual worlds: A comparison of oral task performance between virtual and face-to-face modes of communication.
2008 – 2010 University of Leicester — M.A. Applied Linguistics and TESOL
An evaluation of an adapted dictogloss task for introducing literary skills and
‘focus on form’ to young EFL learners.
2001 – 2004 Leeds Metropolitan University — BSc. Creative Music and Sound Technology
2018 – Lecturer, Division of Liberal Arts, Natural, Social and Health
Sciences, Toyko Denki University
2013 – 2018 Associate Professor, Division of Liberal Arts, Natural, Social and Health
Sciences, Toyko Denki University
2010 – 2013 Lecturer, Division of Liberal Arts, Natural, Social and Health
Sciences, Toyko Denki University
2005 – 2010 Assistant Language Teacher, Interac
2016 Tokyo Denki University — Project Based Learning Grant
2018 Tokyo Denki University — Project Based Learning Grant
2017 The 6th Serious Game Jam – First Place
2016 Tokyo Denki University — Education Award
For work on the development and implementation of a unique game-based learning approach to second language acquisition.
2013 The Japan Association for Language Teaching — Best of JALT Award
For work on creating a language learning community in a virtual environment.
2008 Japanese Language Proficiency Test — Level 1
York, J., deHaan, J., & Hourdequin, P. (forthcoming) It’s Your Turn: EFL Teaching and Learning with Tabletop Games. In H, Reinders (Ed.) Innovation in Language Learning & Teaching: The Case of Japan
York, J. (2014). Minecraft and language learning. In C, Gallagher (Ed.), Minecraft in the Classroom: Ideas, inspiration, and student projects for teachers. Peachpit Press, Berkeley, CA, USA.
Refereed Journal Articles
York, J. & deHaan, J. (2018) A constructivist approach to game-based language learning. International Journal of Game Based Learning 8(1).
York, J. & Stillar, S. (2013) Comics, crowdsourcing and up-votes: EFL on the front page of the Internet. JALT CALL Journal 9(1).
York, J. (2012) English Quest: Implementing game mechanics in a university EFL classroom. Modern English Teacher 21(4).
York, J. (2011) Reasons for using Youtube in the language classroom. JALT CALL Journal 7(2).
York, J. (2011) Music and MEXT: Using songs to aid non-native primary school teachers. The Language Teacher 35(4), 62-67.
York, J. (2011) Teaching Opposites Through Quiz-making. The Language Teacher 35(2), 49-50.
Refereed Conference Proceedings
York, J., & deHaan, J. (2017). Board games and foreign language learning: Rationale and framework development. In G. Brooks (Ed.) The 2016 PanSIG Journal (pp. 379-390). Tokyo, Japan: JALT.
York, J. (2018) Task creation for virtual worlds: a comparison of face-to-face and online interactions. JALT CALL Conference, Nagoya, Japan, June 9.
York, J., Hourdequin, P., deHaan, J. (2017) Re-rolling SLA Methodology with Tabletop Games. JALT National Conference, Tsukuba, Japan, November 19.
Fukushima, K. & York, J. (2017). TBLT-inspired game design. JALT CALL Conference, Matsuyama, Japan, June 16.
York, J. and deHaan, J. (2016). Kotoba Rollers: How Board Games Trump Video Games in the Classroom. JALT CALL Conference, Tokyo, Japan, June 4.
York, J. (2016). Kotoba Rollers: An experimental language learning framework. JALT PANSIG Conference, Okinawa, Japan, May 20.
York, J. (2014) A Minecraft Education. TEDxTokyo Teachers, Tokyo, Japan, February 7.
York, J. (2014) Task-based Language Teaching and Virtual Worlds: A Case Study in Minecraft. JALT CALL Conference, Nagoya, Japan, June 6.
York, J. (2014) Appropriating Minecraft as a language learning environment. The 6th International Symposium on Digital Technologies in Foreign Language Learning, Kyoto, Japan.
York, J. (2013) Affordances for language learning in Minecraft. European Conference on Technology in the Classroom, Brighton, UK, July 13.
York, J. (2013) Developing a language learning community in Minecraft. JALT CALL Conference, Kurume, Japan, May 31.
York, J. & Stillar, S. (2012) Comics, crowdsourcing and upvotes: EFL on the front page of the Internet. TESOL Conference, Philadelphia, USA, March 31.
York, J. (2012) English Quest: The application of game mechanics in an EFL context. JALT CALL Conference, Kobe, Japan, June 2.
Hourdequin, P. York, J. & deHaan, J. (2017) Learning English and Other 21st Century Skills Through Games: Lessons for Japanese Higher Education from Learning Spaces in New York City. Tokoha Gakuen University Research Review Faculty of Foreign Studies 33, 41-59.
York, J. (2017) Kotoba Rollers: How to teach English with games. University of Shizuoka, Japan, May 2.
York, J. (2016) Kotoba Miners: Gaming and Language Learning. IAFOR Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom, Kobe, Japan, April 29.
York, J. (2015) Seminar on Minecraft as a language learning environment. MCEDU.jp Conference, Tokyo, Japan, August 8.
University Service and Committees
2016 Tokyo Denki University — Project Based Learning Committee
2011 – present Tokyo Denki University — English Entrance Examination Creation Committee
2006 – present Member, Japan Association of Language Teaching
2011 – present Member, Japan Association of Language Teaching, Computer Assisted
Language Learning Special Interest Group
2017 – present Member, Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium
English Communication 2A, 2B, 4A, 4B
This class is where I am developing and implementing my game-based language learning pedagogy. For more information, please check the Japan Game Lab blog.
Global Communication through Board Game Design
This class is a student-centered, project-based class where students design a board game in small groups. Examples of students work can be found here.
Pervasive Game Design
This is a brand new class inspired by the work of Josh Tanenbaum and a desire to increase student game literacy. Currently projects:
- A Call of Cthulhu LARP
- A university scavenger hunt for local elementary school students
- A twitter-based murder mystery Alternate Reality Game