We have recently been fielding inquiries from parents and camp counselors who wonder whether our GamesforLanguage programs are appropriate for homeschooling and summer camps. We always answer with an enthusiastic YES. In fact, our game-based programs are a great way to keep kids busy AND learning on rainy days. Once kids can read and write, they can play GamesforLanguage.
What are the GamesforLanguage program topics?
The 36 scenes of a course tell the story of a young man who travels to France, Italy, Spain, or Germany. The 4-14 line dialogs of each lesson – we call them “Scenes” - start with a conversation in the airplane, then cover visiting friends and family, some sightseeing, buying train/bus tickets, and ordering food. Along the way, tidbits of cultural information on each country are sprinkled in. (For example: Why did Mark Twain liked the name Heidelberg - where he lived for three months? Which French painter was a banker before he became famous?) The travel story engages the learner, provides relevant vocabulary, and creates a framework that ties everything together. Various games teach, review, and practice the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation with points given for correct answers and completed games. (For voice recording, the player needs a microphone and Flash Player.) After the first few Scenes, players have to reach minimum scores in order to progress to the next Scene.
How does GamesforLanguage.com work?
We described both the idea of our program and its specifics in two recent blogs: The GamesforLanguage Program – Part 1: Approach and Methods, and Part 2: Games Summary. Even if children are following a specific language curriculum, GamesforLanguage will be a great and fun addition to their language learning, especially during the summer months and even later!
As this is an online program, you need a decent Internet connection, a PC/laptop with one of the modern and updated browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. as well as an updated Flash Player (for the recordings). You can even play our programs (without an Apple app) on an iPad and iPhone using iOS6, but – because Apple does not support the Flash player – the recording feature does not work on those devices. (We are hopeful that Android devices will soon be able to play our program as well.)
We also provide mp3 audios of each level which can be downloaded.
Inquiries by summer camps have prompted us to develop different pricing structures for group purchases. And during May our FREE six-day trial provides a great opportunity for trying out GamesforLanguage!
During the month of May, GamesforLanguage players can register for a FREE 6-day trial subscription. (Players who registered previously and have less than 300 points can still participate and can so indicate via contact.)
All can participate in our Learn & Earn challenge which continues into June. As further explained in our FAQs, users can earn additional free months, if they exceed score goals of 5,000 and 10,000 points respectively.
GamesforLanguage currently offers four languages: French 1, German 1, Italian 1, and Spanish 1. Easy games let players understand, read, write, and speak the story of a young traveler who visits the four European countries. With a story that continues through all 36 lessons of the program, players learn relevant and practical everyday vocabulary. Each player will also receive the mp3 audio of "The Story" at the start of each level to download.
We call this "an apple" in English, "una manzana" in Spanish, "une pomme" in French, and "una mela" in Italian. If you were a child, learning one of these languages, you would likely know this well before your second birthday!
Many language courses promote their method of learning a new foreign language with slogans such as "Learn a new language like child!". While there are obviously many aspects of "learning" that children and adults share, there are also significant differences. In fact, "learning like a child" really tries to create the image for you of a young child learning his or her first language, seemingly effortlessly. And who wouldn't also want to learn in a similar way?
A recent blog we published on GEOS Language Plus : LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE LIKE A CHILD explains why there are major differences between a young child learning his/her first language and an adult learning his/her second (or third) language.
Anybody who plans to travel to a Spanish-speaking country can benefit from our Spanish travel story. The story begins in an airplane as our young traveler David flies from Boston to Barcelona. His neighbor in the airplane starts a conversation with him. If you you don't quite understand it at the beginning just follow this YouTube clip and you will at the end. The clip shows only a few of the games that let you understand, read, speak, and write the words and phrases of this travel story - but you can try out our demos to see and hear fro yourself.
Anybody who plans to travel to a German-speaking country can benefit from our German travel story. While in Heidelberg our young "hero" Michael discovers why Mark Twain may have liked the name of the town. And - if you can understand the dialogue in this short YouTube clip - you may discover this as well - and even surprise your German friends or acquaintances...
Anybody who plans to travel and wants to boost his/her language skills in French, German, Spanish, and Italian can benefit from our Travel Story. A short YouTube video shows how you can PLAY and PRACTICE.
GamesforLanguage works on iOS6 mobile devices!
Now you can access our four(4) language programs (German1, French1, Spanish1, and Italian1) not only on your desktop or laptop, but also on your iOS6 mobile devices.
This means you don't need to go through the Apple store to use GamesforLanguage.com. You would want to have a good Wi-Fi connection; just open your Safari browser, login to our site and start playing and learning. While in our opinion the screen on the iPhone is too small for certain games, Memory Game, Snap Clouds, Shootout and others may still work for some users. We prefer the regular iPad and iPad mini.
Start Learning a New Language - playfully...
If you didn't read our blog, here is the short version of the what to consider, if you make learning a new foreign language your New Year's resolution....
If you have been wondering why you have not heard more about our mobile applications, here is the reason why: For the last few months, our CTO – who also happens to be our son – has been working on his first book, “Professional HTML5 Mobile Game Development”. Both the paperback and Kindle edition are now available on Amazon.
We are currently working with Pascal on incorporating many of the ideas and games described in his book into new games for mobile and touchscreen devices, including iPhones, Ipads, Android, and WP7.5. Players will be able to use these games independently or in connection with our currently four language courses.
Also, while we are continuing to work on a mobile application for our main courses, we will change our payment structure to a three month subscription for $10, with no automatic renewal. (There will be no change for our current customers.)
We'll keep you updated on our progress with links to our mobile games as they are being published.
The GamesforLanguage Team
Why we use "The Story"...
Nearly every day we receive google alerts about a new online game or app that promises to make language learning easier and more fun. Some recent ones were: “Blanca goes to School, Question It, San Jiten 3D Game, GoGoLingo, uSpeak.” Many of these language learning games are word games, and/or geared towards younger children with vocabulary appropriate to those age groups.
Language Learning Fun and Gamification
One of the more successful iPad apps for adults, “Mindsnacks,” teaches the words and phrases of a large number of topics - from numbers, colors, months, body parts, greetings, time/date etc. - with entertaining games and a good reward system. (While this is a “fun” program, the lack of a recording option does not let you check your pronunciation.)
A recent entry, “Duolingo,” is trying a new approach that combines traditional reading, translating, speaking, and writing exercises with well-thought-out gamification elements and the challenge “to help translate the web.”
Learning a Language with “The Story”
GamesforLanguage has chosen an approach that uses a narrative which gradually unfolds for the learner. It’s the story of a young “hero” who travels to the country where the language is spoken, meets friends and relatives there, and makes new friends. (To the right: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spanish 1, Scene 2.4)
By reading, hearing, practicing, and recording the words, phrases, and sentences that are used in “The Story” in fast moving games, the learner immediately acquires a very diverse and useful vocabulary. In essence, the learner is challenged to discover “The Story.” And so, rather than focusing on specific “topics,” we teach typical phrases and sentences that you would hear and use every day during your travels. Based on our own experience, we believe that this approach is particularly effective for quickly acquiring the tools for communicating in a foreign language.
The GamesforLanguage Team
Recent PostsHomeschooling & Summer Camp Fun & Practice with GamesforLanguage
FREE 6-day Trial with Learn & Earn in MAY
Learning a Second Language Like a Child?
Play n' Learn Spanish with a Conversation in an Airplane
Why did Mark Twain like Heidelberg?
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