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TESL Electronic Journal



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The present article describes a study that analyzed practical applications of informal online spaces in formal instruction. It was conducted in an intermediate ESL course at an American University. The concept of affinity spaces was used to guide the research. Students in the course were instructed to play the video game, Pokémon Go as an inspiration for their writing. This qualitative study examined the types of affinity space participation, the participant attitudes toward those spaces and to using video games in formal instruction. The data sources consisted of weekly gaming journals and interview transcripts. The findings showed that the participants used the affinity space to socialize with classmates and other players and to enhance their gameplay. They perceived affinity spaces and the use of the video game positively. The implications of this study include practical applications of video game affinity spaces for English language instruction and suggest further research areas. This study is worthwhile as it offers a rare look at an application of informal online practices to enhance formal language instruction.