A compact toolbox for the creative TEFLer.
When I first saw DimmiDeck, I thought it must have been the work of one of the big publishers, because it looked so polished and ambitious. It’s actually the work of a particularly ingenious couple and it deserves a very serious look.
presenting, practicing and producing a whole host of language structures and vocabulary
WHO IS IT FOR?
- Level (CEFR A2+)
- ages 7yrs. and up
My first reaction to DimmiDeck was a big “Oh, that’s so great. I must have it!”. This then cooled a little when I investigated a little further as I realised that it wasn’t what I had thought it was. It wasn’t a game per se, more of a system or a tool which was backed up with a bunch of really neat ideas and a first class promotional campaign.
But what is it exactly? Well, DimmiDeck is a deck of 50 cards, each of which features a beautifully illustrated monocular character, engaged in some activity or other. Each character has it’s own appearance and features, designed to allow lots of different implementations and interpretations.
I think my short-lived, initial disappointment was mainly based upon the fact that I had expected it to be a GAME. I’m used to going on Kickstarter and seeing hugely ambitious board games with massive sets of miniatures, or the like. To pile DimmiDeck in with Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 is not fair at all: they are completely different beasts. DimmiDeck is a deck of cards, but at the same time it is so much more than that. What presents itself as a 50 cards turns out to be a cleverly designed set of illustrated characters with massive scope for classroom exploitation. It is a toolkit and shouldn’t be compared or considered with other Kickstarter games.
Perhaps the most encouraging discovery I made was the website and all the blog entries that it features. This really brought home to me that there is a huge amount of scope with DimmiDeck. You can download a free sample of 12 cards and a bunch of nicely written lesson plans of stuff you can do with them. Of course, some of the ideas are better than others, but all of the ideas really nicely demonstrate the range of things that you can use it for. Of all the ideas on the blog, my personal favourite was Entrepreneurs, in which the students have to use the characters to start a business. I can see that a lot of mechanisms from other retail games would also work really well with DimmiDeck, such as Guess who? Unusual Suspects and Casting. With more time to experiment with it, I’m sure even more possibilities would come up. Once students are familiar with them, they might even start making up their own games!
BEAR IN MIND:
- DimmiDeck is already backed up with a big library of ideas for lessons, games and activities. If you are the kind of teacher who likes to have a ready-made solution for a particular language area, then there’s certainly a lot of materials to choose from.
- The cards are available in two sizes: the first about the size of a regular playing card (80mm) and a larger size (120mm). If you teach larger classes then this could potentially limit the classroom functionality of the set, but if you have to do a lot of travel and teaching smaller groups, then DimmiDeck should be a no-brainer. It’s so versatile that with it, you’ll never be short of an activity ever again.
All told, if you expect DimmiDeck to fall in with all the other Kickstarter game campaigns, then you are likely to have some unrealistic expectations, because it is not a game. It is a set of very cleverly designed and well-produced flashcards. There are a whole bunch of purposeful ESL games and activities that you can play with it and I’m sure that students will really enjoy using them. For my money though, DimmiDeck will really start to come into its own when a large group of creative teachers get their hands on their sets and start experimenting with them in their own classrooms. The creators have done a fantastic job putting together this set, but the potential for even further growth and innovation is huge. Certainly one to watch.