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Free online language learning aids – Part Two: Gaming and Avatars April 23, 2010

Posted by teachandreflect in Uncategorized.
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N.B. This and the previous post  are a work in progress. I’ll continue adding free language learning resources to this page as I encounter them. I’d love to hear from any readers if they know of any similar resources.  

Gaming environments 
Earlier I foreshadowed that online gaming environments were producing the latest trends in truly engaging younger language learners in online learning. Be sure to check out The Sims Teach German, which introduces a lot of great new innovative ideas for using games that were never intended to be used as language learning tools.  Take The Sims, for example. Simply by playing the game in the target language, students can learn and reinforce vocabulary, syntax, grammar and more in a rich learning environment that engages the audio-visual senses in a fun and constructive way.

Machinima
Taking the program further, a group called Rooster Teeth has shown how The Sims’ and other games’ artificial intelligence can be used to create machinima , described by Wikipedia as “the use of real-time three-dimensional (3-D) graphics rendering engines to generate computer animation”. The folks at Rooster Teeth are somewhat more laid back in their description: “We just write scripts and then use videogames to act them out. It’s a new style of animation that some people call machinima. It allows to make weekly pieces of animation with a small group of people.”

There appear to be endless possibilities for practising foreign languages in this fashion appear to be be endless – the following example brings Latin to life:

Social Networking Avatars
Another way to practise languages in an online environment is to use avatars. This can range from visiting your target country in the virtual online world, ‘Second Life’, to creating a fictional profile in the target language environment of social networking sites like facebook (To be continued).

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