Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Sims Teach German -- Video Games for Foreign Language Learning - Google Video

This is a really interesting presentation on the use of video games for language learning.

This particular presentation focuses on the game Sims2. At first, I thought that the approach was much too focused on reading, but the presenters really do go on to make a case for using this game to work many aspects of language.

I think that this is the best use of existing games that I've seen. Most projects focus on expensive development of games that are outdated before they can be released. This use focuses on somewhat easy and quick modifications that can be made for language learning (or other topic even).

I'd recommend that you check it out.


Janine said...

I think the use of video games for language learning is a fantastic idea. The only caveat is that it is going to require some effort from students, whereas playing games is purely entertainment. I would think that the most successful way to use games would be to assign their use as an option among other assignments. That way, students know that they are getting to choose something that is more fun, rather than thinking that this is a way to ruin their entertainment. Of course, this would depend on the student's facility with the foreign language, their overall attitude toward language learning, and their attitudes toward online/video games.

I also would think that there would have to be some means of accountability. Who would know whether the student just said they spent X amount of time using the game or whether they were doing something else? Perhaps they would have to document or demonstrate new structures they learned or explain some goal they reached in the game.

My only concern as I watched this video was that the voices on these games might be hard for foreign language learners to understand. Authentic speech is almost always harder to understand than programmed speech designed for language students, but the gravelly voice in the video seemed to me hard to understand for a beginning language learner.

Dan said...

Well thought out Janine. I agree with everything you say.

I realize that the narrator's voice might not be ideal (likely the researcher), but one of the points of this presentation was that YOU can be the narrator. That changes things a little, doesn't it? :)


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