Language Learning through Games
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Language Learning through Games
A place to include articles, websites, and the like on CALL and the use of games as a teaching tool for L2 language learners, as well as CALL information in general
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Digital Games in Language Learning and Teaching

Digital Games in Language Learning and Teaching | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Recent years have seen a growing interest in the pedagogical benefits of digital games, which have the potential to engage learners and to encourage interaction in the target language.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

I looked through this book on GoogleBooks, and after reading the foreword, this looks like an excellent book and resource for learning more about CALL and games. It is an interesting concept, the "teaching as designing" (TAD) which I liken more to constructivism as the authors argues that video games are inherently teaching tools due to the nature of their design. Said characteristics of video games are effectively set up to allow for successful learning due to the complex and unique experience that changes with every play.

 

 I think that this reading can be further understood through the use of the Coppens, Rico, and Agudo (2012) article. The authors argue that language learning, to be effective, requires immersion in the language to be successful - a student is able to write, speak, and listen/understand fully in a language. What better way then to learn another language than through a video game where the written, audio, and visual components are all there.

 

Interesting book, shame GoogleBooks don't allow you to view more of it though.

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Saving the language of the Lakota - Rapid City Journal

Saving the language of the Lakota - Rapid City Journal | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Saving the language of the Lakota
Rapid City Journal
Like many members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, high school senior Kristian Big Crow never spoke his native Lakota language as a child.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Great article. I was surprised at first when the authors referred to a barrier as being access to resources and textbooks on teaching Lakota - I would have thought that at this point in time a procedure or process would exist for reaching smaller and fly-in communities. Further down the article the authors mention:

 

And despite the physical isolation of the reservation-based school, Red Cloud is also working to ensure the Lakota language curriculum is on the cutting edge of technology. Through the use of an innovative, online modular learning platform called Moodle, teachers and students have web-based access to all curriculum materials, tests and features such as a searchable Lakota dictionary, Lakota audio recordings and other multimedia resources. 

 

I think this is a great opportunity - the bundling of language learning and technology learning - as members of the community are able to learn their cultural and historical language using new means and technology. The article went on to say that students were starting to chat in Lakota in the chatrooms too, as well as in everyday life.

 

I think that if the language learning is starting to be used with technology, then the next step will be to look at gaming and language learning - I am sure that if the goal or dream is to get the youth of a community to learn the Lakota language, approaching it from a gaming perspective may be a viable option.

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valencia-2011.pdf

Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Interesting article. I think that it offers a great insight into the potential of gaming with L2 learners. More importantly, is that it allows for the learning in some more important (albeit relative) situations (i.e. hotels, etc.). These types of context-specific situations could be particularly helpful if the students have just recently moved to a new country and have need help such as directions or an ambulance.

 

I think that this type of technology also allows for immediate feedback and responsive in the game to check for understanding. The student is able to attempt to order some food from the "restaurant" and the "waiter" AI will respond accordingly. This notion of feedback can help to really boost the student's overall morale in learning the language and provide areas for improvement too.

 

While this type of game is very staged and does not allow for quite as much of a unique-and-different-everytime experience, I should suspect that it will nonetheless be useful for learning another language to the L2 student.

 

I think the Rico, Ferreira, Dominguez, and Coppens (2012) article provides an interesting insight into this article as as what better way to prepare students and allow them to engage in the language they are learning then by practicing (and playing) with other students from other countries, who are native in the particular language.

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In kindergarten, learning a foreign language

In kindergarten, learning a foreign language | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Brookfield is one of the few traditional public school districts in the Western Connecticut region to expand world languages to the kindergarten level.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

I thought that this was an interesting article as I believe it speaks to the time-sensitivity associated with learning a new language. It has long been demonstrated and researched that learning a new language is easier the younger you are - last I checked, you need to start by 6 in order to learn the new language in the most effective manner.

 

I think that this could further provide insight into L2 language learning and CALL as clearly students should be learning another language at a young age. While this is not always possible as outlined in the article (lack of funding, lack of teachers, etc.), the use of technology in learning a new language could help erase the need of funding or formal teachers as their are plenty of programs and softwares out there that are free or of relatively low cost.

 

Lastly, I think that further research into this topic could also provide further insights into starting language learning programs at earlier stages in Education.

 

For more information on language learning and best ages:

 

http://esl.fis.edu/parents/advice/myth2.htm

 

http://blog.languagelizard.com/2011/09/27/6-reasons-why-children-should-learn-languages-as-early-as-possible/

 

http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/parents/articles/how-young-children-learn-english-another-language

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A New Pedagogy is Emerging...And Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor | Contact North

A New Pedagogy is Emerging...And Online Learning is a Key Contributing Factor | Contact North | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Great article - I think this really solidifies the need for technology in the classroom, as well its effectiveness. The authers argue that:

 

"Learners within any single 'class' are likely to have multiple needs. Within the framework of the learning objectives, more flexible approaches to content choice, delivery, assessment, and other factors are emerging. Equally important is the development of learners taking responsibility for their own learning, and approaching this as a skill to be taught and developed."

 

I take from this passage that it is also indicative of L2 learners. As evidenced from other articles we have discussed in class, as well as a few articles I have included, motivation is an important factor in L2 learners' desires to learn English (or whatever language it may be) and be able to communicate effectively in that language.

 

In particular, I found the The IntroPsych Blended Learning Model (i-BLM) outlined in the "Hybrid Learning" section to be an important change or way in which learning can occur with L2 learners in the classroom. I like that it is founded in technology and is well structured. I think that it is a combination of the well-defined structure of the course (weekly classes, tutorials, and modules) as well as the varied nature of the the delivery system. I believe that this would provide well for L2 learning as it allows students to work synchronously as well as asynchronously, and to a degree at their own pace too (i.e. students can supplement their in-class learning with enrichment and extra-help activities throughout. Most importantly though, I really like the "feedback" feature of this model - feedback is such an important tool in the learning process; whether formally or informally, feedback helps us with our checks-and-balances to see if we are on the right track - do I need to practice more often, am I getting tripped up on my syntax, etc.

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Microsoft Research works on interpreting sign language with Kinect

Microsoft Research works on interpreting sign language with Kinect | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Microsoft is taking its Kinect technology to a whole new level. We've already looked at how the company is attempting to integrate its product into retail, but Microsoft Research is also tapping into sign language.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This was a fascinating article as I am aware of Microsoft's Kinect technology, but it never occured to me that it could be used in a language capacity. I think that is goes without saying how useful this type of technology could be towards assiting those with linguistic impairements or difficulties (aphasia, mute, etc.), but even simply for students wishing to learn another language - in this case sign language. While the technology of Kinect is not inherently designed exclusively for gaming, it certainly provides for an interesting resource in aiding in language learning. Imagine playing a video game and instead of using verbal commands to switch programs, scroll through the internet, etc. (all of which possible with the soon-to-be-released Xbox One), a person unable to verbally communicate effectively can do so now through sign language.

 

For more information, you can follow the links at the end of the article or select them here:

 

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/

 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/msr_er/archive/2013/10/29/kinect-sign-language-translator.aspx

 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/msr_er/archive/2013/10/30/kinect-sign-language-translator-part-2-of-2.aspx

 

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B.C. migrant students want credit for learning English

B.C. migrant students want credit for learning English | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
A group of migrant youth are calling on the B.C. Ministry of Education to give students credit for learning English, the same way native English speakers get credit for learning a foreign language.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This article was quite an eye-opener for me actually as I had no idea that ESL/ELL/etc. courses do not grant credit. I was also a little disappointed in the article as it did not make reference to the reasons why credit would not be granted. I certainly agree with the double standard issue that exists at hand - if I as a native English speaker can get credit for learning another language (in my case I took French in grades 9 and 10), then why should a non-native English speaker not get credit for learning another language (in their case...English!)?

 

While this article is not directly related to my topics of CALL and L2 learning through gaming, I think it is nonetheless an important article to highlight the possible further difficulties that L2 students experience in learning English.

 

For further information, see: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/ell//

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Polyglot - Free language lessons online, Learn English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Russian-Internet Polyglot

Polyglot - Free language lessons online, Learn English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Russian-Internet Polyglot | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Internet Polyglot. Learn foreign languages. Free resources and community for learning English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Russian, Dutch, Japanese, Hindi and other languages online.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Fun sight with helpful games for language learners. However, looking back at Charatdao Intratat's article (http://sisaljournal.org/archives/sep11/intratat/) that I included in a previous post, this type of site would be much better suited for the latter of the two types, games that are specifically designed for learning. That being said, for teachers to use this type of website for enrichment or homework activities for L2 language learners would probably prove to be quite beneficial.

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Video Games Help U.S. Soldiers Learn Arab Language, Culture

Video Games Help U.S. Soldiers Learn Arab Language, Culture | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Researchers have developed an interactive computer system that uses artificial intelligence and gaming techniques to teach Arabic to U.S. soldiers.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This is a fascinating article as it shows that you are never too old to learn a new language! This article is interesting as it refers to using AI (artificial intelligence) to teach a language to L2 learners - I think that this should prove to be very effective in language learning as it allows the learner to receive immediate feedback from the AI character on whether the student was correct or accurate in their language. I think that this article also shows how learning another language does not have to only take place in an educational setting, but anywhere in fact.

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Computer learns language by playing games - MIT News Office

Computer learns language by playing games - MIT News Office | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
By basing its strategies on the text of a manual, a computer infers the meanings of words without human supervision.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This is an interesting article, maybe a little science fiction though. From a theory perspective, I think that this is a valid point to consider when looking at CALL and L2 learning with technology - maybe by looking at how the computer "learns" a language needs to be taken into account in order to better develop tools/programs for students to learn a language.

 

“Games are used as a test bed for artificial-intelligence techniques simply because of their complexity,” says Branavan, who was first author on both ACL papers. “Every action that you take in the game doesn’t have a predetermined outcome, because the game or the opponent can randomly react to what you do. So you need a technique that can handle very complex scenarios that react in potentially random ways.”

 

This quote really stuck with me as I think it can speak to the value that gaming can have with L2 learners. The complexity and ambiguity associate with gaming can provide for a much richer, detail-heavy, user experience. This can also mean that the same student can play the game over and over again, yet have a different experience and learn different and new things with each play.

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Language learning: Video games used to crack the speech code

Language learning: Video games used to crack the speech code | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
When we speak, our enunciation and pronunciation of words and syllables fluctuates and varies from person to person. Given this, how do infants decode all of the spoken sounds they hear to learn words and meanings?
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Fascinating article! I think the implications here certainly allow for educators to create games with the intention in mind of actually having these games teach L2 learners a new language. I really think the implications of the researchers developing the "alien" language to test how learners learn a new language is quite creative. While not all teachers are necessarily going to develop their own games or softwares, I think that it might allow for teachers to gain a new perspective on the way they go about teaching a new language to L2 learners.

 

Of particular interest is the point the author makes about language impediments such as dyslexia. The research, for which this article is based, refers to how taking conditions such as dyslexia into account can actually help to develop programs/systems/tools that allow for language learning by L2 learners.

 

Another article to look at:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/34740/

 

 

 

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Free Technology for Teachers: Video Games and Language Learning

Free Technology for Teachers: Video Games and Language Learning | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

I liked this article as it reminded me of my summative assignment from my BEd - it involved using a book (I used a poem) and structuring Language Arts, Music, Science, and Health and Physical Education lessons around it. The best part was that each lesson should involve a blending of the two subjects - so for example incorporating HPE curriculum expectations into a Science lesson too, while still using the book as a framing device. This article reminded me of it as the author was commenting on how he learned English in part through playing an online game based in Greek mythology. I think that this would be a great way to further engage L2 students in learning a language - make it fun by putting it in a game, and make it interesting by using a story line/plot/etc. of something that the students are actually interested in. It is no surprise that most of our daily lives are now happening in the virtual or digital world - why not learning too? Students could write out a list of topics that interest them and the teacher could take the most common topics from the class and use those to find online games to help the students learn the language. I feel that this is one of those things that is easier said then done, but in reality, almost anything can be found on the internet, an online game that either directly or indirectly teaches another language through any type of theme or story line/plot is certainly not out of the question.

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a44-rankin.pdf

Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Very interesting article - I think that this is a great insight into what children and youth actually want. Children and Youth have been playing MMORPG (massive multi-player online role playing game) such as RuneScape, World of Warcraft (WoW), and with the widespread use of gaming consoles like Xbox, PlayStation, and even smart phones, there are hundreds and hundreds of games that take place in the virtual world with people from all over the globe. How does someone in Morocco play against someone from Trinidad? Can MMORPG games be effective in language learning with L2 and other students? I think that it could be quite worthwhile as it is a bit of a sneaky way of teaching students language by hiding it in a game that they are already probably playing for several hours a day. I know that some games have different "worlds" or "rooms" designated for different countries, skill levels, etc. Perhaps having a room where a class of L2 learners could play again each other and attempt to learn the language by interacting in the game and with each other in the language they are too learn (through the chat box).

 

For more information, check out this article: Designing Serious Games for Computer Assisted Language Learning - a Framework for Development and Analysis by Bente Meyer and Birgitte holm Sorensen. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4020-9496-5_5

 

This article looks at how students in primary schools in Denmark learned English through the use of a gaming website (mingoville.com). The authors advocate for the use of games in teaching English as they feel that it allows for the students to more fully engage in the learning when it takes place in gaming - it is reinforced by positive interactions in the game itself. The students can then learn the language in part based on their own experiences in the games itself.

 
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Language learning in Virtual Worlds - ETEC 510

Language learning in Virtual Worlds - ETEC 510 | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Interesting site. I was particularly interested in the links to constructivism and problem-based learning. I had not really thought about constructivism in terms of CALL and language learning, but I think that it makes perfect sense as allowing students to engage in a language through doing (such as with situated cognition) - in other words, students can engage in the language by practicing with their peers. Virtual Worlds online provide for a great forum for learning by allowing students from all across the world to practice their language learning. This can be seen as a Knowledge Building Environment (KBE) as the students can work collaboratively to learn the language.

 

As has been previously outlined and shown here, language learning can take place either synchronously or asynchronously. I think that a KBE would provide for a great outlet in collaborative L2 language learning, and could be either synchronous or asynchronous - whichever suits the students best. I found this article to provide an interesting insight into the topic and it has certainly helped further my understanding.

 

I think this article presents similar arguments and points to Bibiko (2012) with his example of the digital world "R." Clearly these types of virtual worlds are an indensible resource for language learning and L2 learners.

 

For more information on constructivism see:

http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/learning_teaching/ict/theory/constructivism.shtml

 

For more information on Knowledge Building Environments (KBE):

http://ikit.org/fulltext/2006_KBTheory.pdf

 

For more information on Problem-Based Learning:

http://cll.mcmaster.ca/resources/pbl.html

http://www.studygs.net/pbl.htm

 

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Foreign Language Teaching Methods: Technology

Professional development modules for foreign language instruction at the high-school and college levels.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

I found this to be a very useful site as it helped my understanding of learning a new and foreign language, as well as how to effectively teach another language to L2 students. I particularly liked that this information was presented both in written words and video.

 

The author explains, and is supported by other articles I have scooped here, that there is a difference between remembering a word and learning a word. For example, the author looks at how you can remember a word but forget it the next day - the issue is a lack of association or connection to the word.

 

Karl Popper wrote about the process that a person goes through when they encounter something new. He discussed it in terms of three different worlds that a person resides in during the process. Essentially, a person takes the new concept and attempts to engage in it cognitively - what is this? Is it something new or something I have encountered before? How does this new thing change what I already know about other things, similar or not?

 

I think this might provide for an interesting perspective in terms of the need for association in order to make the connection. If I encounter a word but don't engage in it or attempt to understand, as evidenced by Popper, than I am not really learning - I'm not making that connection by engaging in it. Perhaps students too need to engage in the words and language in order to effectively learn it and understand it.

 

For more information on Karl Popper and his work:

 

http://www.knowledgejump.com/knowledge/popper.html

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90,981,12%20Learning_sims_ranalli_2008.pdf

Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This is another great article that advocates for L2 language learning through games - in this case, MMORPG and the like. As evidenced in previous articles that I have posted, these types of games are particularly usefull for L2 language learning.

 

For example, in the article, the author states:

 

Computer-based simulations in particular can provide content for language learning that is ‘naturally rich in associations’ via cohesive, meaningful contexts (Purushotma, 2005, p. 84). They can also present scenarios in real time and give instantaneous feedback

(Jones, 1986). Computer simulations can help bridge the distance between students and the target-language culture and thereby provide realistic sociocultural contexts for language learning (Schwienhorst, 2002). With respect to affective barriers, computer simulations incorporating synchronous chat can also motivate learners who would be normally shy in face-to-face interaction to take part more actively (Freiermuth, 2002).

 

I recall from an Intro to Psychology course I took in my undergrad that making associations with symbols/words/etc. is an important aspect of memory retention. I think that by having L2 students learn another language, in part, through these types og games, they will be better able to retain the information they learned if not simply to be able to succeed in the game, but through working through the game too.

 

I further agree with Freiermuth's point on synchronous chat - certainly synchronous chat can allow for more shy students to become a little more extroverted, but I think that it extends beyond that. The synchronous chat feature of these types of games should also be considered for the benefits of allowing for further practicing of language skills and to even practice them with other people adn students around the world.

 

This is another similar article to Bibiko (2012) - I particularly think the point about geographic location displays is similar to the use of words or symbols etc. Likewise, this can provide for integration with language learning and other subjects. Possibly designing a game with these specific types of goals in mind, as well as the use of integration, could allow for great language learning ability. 

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myBee Education An Interesting Learning iPad App for Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

myBee Education An Interesting Learning iPad App for Students ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This article speaks to bridging the gap between the more traditional styles of teaching, and the technology-embedded style of teaching. An important aspect of learning a new language is being able to write in that language too. The article asks an important question in the age of technology - are pen and pencils still useful in the classroom? When more and more kids have laptops, Smart phones, and Apple technology at home and now in the classroom, it is the inevitable leap that students would start typing their notes rather than writting them down.

 

I think this new app bridges the aforementioned gap whereby students can learn a new language while doing so using technology. The app also has a "detailed tracker" which enables both parents and their children to track their progress through their learning. Just as with oral feedback, tracking progress by any means is an important tool in the learning process.

 

A great teaching resource!

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Embarrassing Conversation around BYOD

Embarrassing Conversation around BYOD | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Two educators--1880: Artemus: "The students today all want to bring their own pencils to school." Phineas: "I know! What should we do about it?" Artemus: "I don't know.  They seem so useful; howeve...
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Interesting argument, it is amazing to see how far we have really come with technology - from using papyrus thousands of years ago, to storing gigabytes upon gigabytes of information on a microchip smaller than the nail on your pinky finger. While this article argues more about the presence of technology in the classroom in terms of distractions and such, I think it is also worthwhile looking at is from a CALL and L2 perspective. Clearly technology will forever continue to evolve, adapt, and change, and so should the education system. If students are finding that technology in the classroom allows them to better learn language, then should it not be assessed on a case-by-case basis? I'm thinking about this in terms of the "two educators-2013" conversation.

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8 Online Games for Inspiring Students

8 Online Games for Inspiring Students | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Eight brilliant online games that can engage, inspire and equip students with the tools and ambition to approach a whole host of exciting careers and paths.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Nice site for different examples of subject-specific games to help students learn a subject or topic. In terms of language learning, number 3, "Lord of the Flies," looks like a great resource. I think that students who may come from non-English speaking backgrounds may particularly benefit as they are able to have extra help, or even enrichment, after school and classes are finished. I really believe that students need to have as many options as possible to help them learn new information or retain old information. This can be seen with mathematics where realistically no one cares how you solved the problem, provided you showed your work and got the right answer. This allows students to go about their school work in the way that works best for them and is condusive for learning. Likewise, another way to think about this is the different learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic) that exist and the push in the pedagogy for teachers to engage in all of these styles to further reach the students.

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'Avatar' fans learn to speak Na'vi language

'Avatar' fans learn to speak Na'vi language | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Hundreds of people around the world have committed to learning Na'vi, the language created for the giant blue aliens in the blockbuster movie Avatar
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Fun article! This is exactly the kind of pop culture-induced drive that people can have for learning another language. Think of all the people that went out and learned Elvish from the Lord of the Rings, or Klinggon from Star Trek clearly shows that people can learn and master a completely made up language through a myriad of technological ways. I particularly liked the part about "Thousands of people are visiting the Learn Na'vi website where they can teach  themselves the Na'vi alphabet, read the dictionary, take part in a Na'vi forum,  and even download an application so their GPS can speak Na'vi." The fact that there are entire discussion boards where people are communicating (effectively) in a foreign and made up language should be a wonderful indicator to include this educational teachnological tool into L2 language learner classrooms. There are so many games out there already that have discussion boards and post (mainly online games such as MMORPGs and online Xbox 360/PlayStation/etc. devices) why can they not be implemented into a learning tool?

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Smashing stereotypes around women and gaming

Smashing stereotypes around women and gaming | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
The misconception that video games are not for girls is nothing new, but more and more developers, games reviewers and other pivotal figures in the industry are getting behind the effort to counter it.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

I wanted to find an article that discussed girls and gaming to really demonstrate the point on the need to ensure that if games are to be implemented as a tool for language learning, then it needs to be appropriate and effect for everyone. I think by taking gender, whether it be male, female, transgender, or otherwise, into designing games, a much richer language learning could take place. For example, when teaching L2 language learner students, a lesson on identifying bias/prejudice in the language could take place by engaging in games and writting down incidents of any type of biased/prejudicial writting. Even simpler is to use games that have a text and/or audio chat option could be a teamwork excercise where students need to communicate with each other in the language they are learning into to solve problems/win/etc. in the game. 

 

Even better would be to have the students play these types of game with other students in similar classes (i.e. a class in Spain learning English with a class in Australia learning Spanish). I think students were certainly benefit from that kind of language learning as it is fun, interactive, complex, and a completely different and unique experience every time.

 

For more information on the kind of having language learning students engage and learn from students of other countries, see the article by Rico, Ferreira, Dominguez, and Coppens: Get Networked and Spy Your Language (2012). ISBN: 978-1-908416-03-2

               Of Interest:

                    --> Methodologyand phases section on page 3 - could easily be adapted into a game involving electronic gaming, particularly if the game could be created fresh (or another one "modded") where by the creator could input their own quizzes and assignments in the form of missions in the game.

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Alternatives for Making Language Learning Games More Appealing for Self-Access Learning

Alternatives for Making Language Learning Games More Appealing for Self-Access Learning | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Charatdao Intratat, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand Intratat, C. (2011). Alternatives for making language learning games more appealing for self-access learning. Studies ...
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

Exactly, students are only going to be more willing to play games (and benefit from it) if it is something that would actually normally enjoy playing. Taking that point into account, it is also important to take heed of the distinction raised by the author on the two different types of learning games: those that can be used for learning through normal interactions and experiences in the game, and games that are specifically designed for learning. In my opinion, the most effective game for L2 learners should be a combination of the two: if games such as Halo, World of Warcraft, or Black Ops were designed with embedded language lessons etc., students could be learning quite a lot and in such a short time frame (there are some kids who leave and breathe these types of games - I personally know of people who stayed up for 24-48 hours straight just to complete the game in its entirety as soon as possible after its release date).

 

Another interesting point to consider in the article is the issue of gender differences in gaming. I think that gender should be as much a factor in considering the efficacy and benefit of a game in L2 language learning as meeting the individual learning styles and needs of a given student. Boys and girls, without getting overly stereotypical, have different likes and dislikes - evident also in games. If an educator were to consider the type of game (in terms of whether a student will respond to it or not) they may be better able to ensure that the game is actually effective from a language learning standpoint.

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Digital Dialects language learning games

Language learning games - free to use and fun online games for learning 60 languages, including Chinese, English/ESL French, German, Japanese, Spanish and more.
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This is a fun site that has dozens of different languages the user can choose to explore. When the user clicks on a given language, the page opens to show links to different games that can help to teach that language. The games include learning grammar, spelling, verb conjugation, and some math.

 

I think that this could be a great starting point for L2 students to learn a new language, or any one else who wants to learn a new language for that matter. I think that these types of games can provide a good footing for learning a new language by starting with the basics.

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Foreign Language Education Learning with Video Games and Authentic Web Media Tasks

Foreign Language Education Learning with Video Games and Authentic Web Media Tasks | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

This was a great article as the author examines not just gaming as a way of teaching language to L2 learners, but the use of other technologies and sites like social networking. I really liked the idea the author has about "modding" (modifying aspects of the game to suit someone's needs - such as changing the setting of a game from taking place in WWII to taking place during the Korean War) - I think that if there are teachers who are proficient in technologies, then modding a game could prove to be quite useful for teaching L2 learners. In fact, a game series that I follow and play regularly, Assassin's Creed (on Xbox 360), is historically based with each game in the series based on a different point in time in history. For example, one of the game follows the Borgia's in Italy, another The Crusades in ancient Jerusalem and surrounding area. The funny part for me was playing the game that took place in ancient Jerusalem, and then visiting Jerusalem myself on vacation and finding myself staring at identical buildings. I think that this speaks to a student learning through something that is fun and that they may want to take an interest in. When I play games on Xbox 360, I usually enable subtitles - in games like Assassin's Creed, other language are used by the characters. As a result, I know different words in Italian and Arabic. Some games even come with different languages available, so a L2 student could play the game in English, but with, for example, Arabic subtitles. The student could then attempt to learn English when a character speaks, and check their understanding by refering to the accompanying subtitles.

 

In a similar vein, some games allow for the user to use a "world editer" and let them actually create the world in the game from every detail (from every tree and building, to even the weather). This could further allow for language learning, such as maybe an assignment where the teacher asks the students in a science class to create an ecosystem in the game, and part of their mark is being able to understand the instructions and inputs of the game in the language they are attemtping to learn.

 

Great article, I think it really provides a jumping-off point for teachers to get ideas on how to use games to teach languages to L2 learners.

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SanjigenJiten: Computer Assisted Language Learning System within a 3D Game Environment - Springer

SanjigenJiten: Computer Assisted Language Learning System within a 3D Game Environment - Springer | Language Learning through Games | Scoop.it
Daniel Benzimra's insight:

You can find the article here, doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-34292-9_18.

 

This is an interesting article as it looks at gaming with CALL, but states that 3D gaming might be a more effective way of learning languages compared to non-3D games. After reading the article I am still skeptical about the weight that 3D gaming has here. I can certainly appreciate the fact that there are different learning styles that exist and that finding different ways to reach every student is paramount. However, I am unsure that 3D will inherently make a significant difference in students being able to identify objects/shapes etc. in English (or any other language for that matter). The authors explain that 3D games will be better able to retain the student's attention better than textbooks, notes, lectures - of course it would as it is a game, but I think the argument is better made that gaming in general probably helps to retain student attention better, not just 3D gaming. That being said, if I had my druthers, I would much prefer a 3D game to a non-3D game too. I think that teachers should be focusing more on ensuring that the students are being reached and are actually learning in a style that suits their needs - if non-3D games are available, what can you as the teacher do to make sure that the game is an effective learning tool?

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